15-213/14-513/15-513 Introduction to Computer Systems: Textbooks


The primary textbook for the course is Randal E. Bryant and David R. O’Hallaron, Computer Systems: A Programmer’s Perspective, Third Edition (CS:APP3e), Pearson, 2016 (ISBN 0-13-409266-X).

A new paper copy of the textbook currently costs $143.99 if purchased directly from Pearson. (Note: the supplemental “MasteringEngineering” product is not needed for this course.) An electronic copy is available for 180-day “rental” for $44.99, or permanent purchase for $74.99, from VitalSource. The CMU Libraries have electronic copies on reserve for 15-213 students. Their version is a scan of the paper book, so it may be harder to read than VitalSource’s version, but on the other hand, it’s free.

Used copies of the book may be available from various sources for cheaper than the above prices, but please make sure to get a copy of the third edition. The first and second editions (published 2003 and 2011) are quite different, particularly in their discussion of assembly language programming, and may confuse you.

Please also make sure you are reading the hardcover version of the third edition (ISBN 0-13-409266-X). The paperback version (also sometimes known as the international version) contains a completely different set of practice and homework problems, many of which are badly posed or even incorrect. Amazon’s “Kindle edition” of the book was based on the paperback version and has the same problem.

Bryant and O’Halloran maintain a website for CS:APP containing errata, additional “Web asides”, and additional reference material for students.


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Additional useful references

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