15-213/14-513/15-513: Introduction to Computer Systems (ICS)

Fall 2021

12 units

The ICS course provides a programmer's view of how computer systems execute programs, store information, and communicate. It enables students to become more effective programmers, especially in dealing with issues of performance, portability and robustness. It also serves as a foundation for courses on compilers, networks, operating systems, and computer architecture, where a deeper understanding of systems-level issues is required. Topics covered include: machine-level code and its generation by optimizing compilers, performance evaluation and optimization, computer arithmetic, memory organization and management, networking technology and protocols, and supporting concurrent computation.

Course Syllabus

Prerequisites: 15-122

What's New?

  • 18 July 2021.
    • First day of class is Tuesday, August 31.
    • Recitations will be in-class
    • No recitation on Monday, August 30 or Monday, September 6.
    • Lab 0 will be posted Tuesday, August 31 and is due Tuesday, September 7.
    • There will be a Linux Boot Camp on Sunday, September 5 at 6-8pm in GHC 4401 (Rashid Auditorium).

Getting Help

Piazza Piazza
Email Please use Piazza for help, instead of email. Posts to Piazza are private by default.
Tutoring TBD
Office Hours We use an online queue. All times are in Eastern Time. Office hours will be offered both in person and on Zoom. Please specify either a Zoom meeting ID or room number when adding yourself to the queue.
Sun 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM   GHC 5th Floor Carrels 3-4
Mon 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM   GHC 5th Floor Carrels 1-2
Tue 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM   GHC 5th Floor Carrels 1-2
Wed 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM   GHC 5th Floor Tables 5-7
6:00 PM - 10:00 PM   GHC 5th Floor Carrels 1-2
Thu 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM   GHC 5th Floor Carrels 1-2
Fri 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM   GHC 5th Floor Tables 5-7
6:00 PM - 10:00 PM   GHC 5th Floor Carrels 1-2
In-person office hours for the Silicon Valley campus will be held Wed and Fri at 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM Pacific Time in B23 129B.
Office hours for the professors are given below.

Course Materials

Schedule Lecture schedule, slides, recitation notes, readings, and code
Labs Details of the labs, due dates, and policies
Assignments Details of the written assignments, due dates, and policies
Exam Information about the final exam
Lab Machines Instructions for using the lab machines
Resources Additional course resources

Course Information

For details See the course syllabus for details (below is just a few overview bits).
Lectures See above
15-213 Recitations
Section A: Mon 10:10 AM - 11:00 AM, CFA 102
Section B: Mon 10:10 AM - 11:00 AM, WEH 4708
Section C: Mon 11:15 AM - 12:05 PM, CFA 102
Section D: Mon 11:15 AM - 12:05 PM, MI 355
Section E: Mon 12:20 PM - 01:10 PM, POS 145
Section F: Mon 12:20 PM - 01:10 PM, WEH 4708
Section G: Mon 01:25 PM - 02:15 PM, PH 225B
Section H: Mon 01:25 PM - 02:15 PM, GHC 4101
Section I: Mon 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM, GHC 4101
Section J: Mon 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM, WEH 5328
Section K: Mon 03:35 PM - 04:25 PM, BH 237B
14-513 Recitations
Section A: Mon 10:10 AM - 11:00 AM, CIC 1201
Section B: Mon 11:15 PM - 12:05 PM, CIC 1201
Section C: Mon 06:35 PM - 07:25 PM, CIC 1201
Section D: Mon 12:20 PM - 01:10 PM, CIC 1201
Section E: Mon 01:25 PM - 02:15 PM, INI DEC
Section SV: Mon 03:35 PM - 04:25 PM (Pacific Time), B23 118
Textbooks Randal E. Bryant and David R. O'Hallaron,
Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective, Third Edition, Pearson, 2016
  Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie,
The C Programming Language, Second Edition, Prentice Hall, 1988
Credit 12 units
Grading Composed from total lab performance (50%), total written assignment performance (20%) and final exam performance (30%).
Labs There are 8 labs (L0-L7), not evenly weighted. See the labs page for the breakdown.
Exam There is a final exam, held during exam week, closed book.
Home http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~213
Questions Piazza, office hours
Canvas Canvas will be used (i) to handin written assignments, (ii) to post lecture videos, and (iii) to conduct ungraded, in-class quizzes. Your grading information will be kept up to date in Autolab, not in Canvas.
Course Directory /afs/cs/academic/class/15213-f21/


Name Seth Copen Goldstein Zack Weinberg Brian Railing David Varodayan
Contact seth@cmu.edu zweinber@cs.cmu.edu bpr@cs.cmu.edu varodayan@cmu.edu
Office GHC 7111 (PIT) GHC 4124 (PIT) GHC 6005 (PIT) B23 201B (SV)
Office Hours Thu 3pm–4:15pm Fri 1pm–3pm or by appt ?? Wed 12pm–1:30pm (Pacific Time)