Examines key computational abstraction levels below modern high-level languages. From Java/C to assembly programming, to basic processor and system organization.
- Representation: how different data types (from simple integers to arrays of data structures) are represented in memory, how instructions are encoded, and how memory addresses (pointers) are generated and used to create complex structures.
- Translation: how high-level languages are translated into the basic instructions embodied in process hardware with a particular focus on C and Java.
- Control flow: how computers organize the order of their computations, keep track of where they are in large programs, and provide the illusion of multiple processes executing in parallel.
- understand the multi-step process by which a high-level program becomes a stream of instructions executed by a processor;
- know what a pointer is and how to use it in manipulating complex data structures;
- be facile enough with assembly programming (X86) to write simple pieces of code and understand how it maps to high-level languages (and vice-versa);
- understand the basic organization and parameters of memory hierarchy and its importance for system performance;
- be able to explain the role of an operating system;
- know how Java fundamentally differs from C;
- grasp what parallelism is and why it is important at the system level; and
- be more effective programmers (more efficient at finding bugs, improved intuition about system performance).
- Number representation
- Assembly language
- Basics of C
- Memory management
- Operating-system process model
- High-level machine architecture
- Memory hierarchy
- Implementation of high-level languages
- Luis Ceze - Computer Science & Engineering
- Gaetano Borriello - Computer Science & Engineering
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