CS 262 - Fall 2018

Introduction to Low-level Programming



Ivan Avramovic, Ping Deng, Zoran Duric, and John E. Otten

Teaching Assistants:

Mingyu Liang, Ioanna Karantaidou, Mahbubul Palash, Jingyan Zhang

Course Web Page

piazza link


Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie, The C Programming Language, 2nd ed., Prentice Hall, 1988.

About the Class

Most high-level programming languages (and particularly Java) insulate the programmer from the realities of the hardware on which the programs will run. C is the exception since it was originally designed to implement the Unix operating system. C offers the programmer direct access to much of the underlying hardware and, for programs running under Unix, direct access to operating system services. For these reasons C remains the language of choice for systems programming.

This is a (short) course on "low-level" programming using C. We will learn C with heavy emphasis on pointer operations.


Planned topics include:

Course outcomes

The students will:


Attendance at labs is required. A short programming assignment will be given at the beginning of the lab and the lab instructor will be available to help students with the programming. If not completed the lab may be taken home. Lab assignments will be due on Friday after the week of the lab. You have a budget of 5 late days which you can use as you wish. In addition, we will drop your lowest lab grade.


There will be occasional unannounced quizzes given in labs. A missed quiz cannot be made up. The lowest quiz score for the semester will be dropped.


Projects In addition to the labs there will be several larger programming projects. These will be presented and discussed in the lecture. Late programs will be accepted with a 10 points per day late penalty. You are responsible for keeping backups of your work ("my disk crashed" and "my roommate ate my program" are not reasons for late submissions). If your program isn't the way you'd like it to be when the deadline is near, submit it anyway for partial credit. Blackboard permits you to retrieve and resubmit your assignment until the due date, so you may resubmit if you improve your program prior to the deadline. In order to achieve full credit for a project or a lab, the code must compile and run to completion with no obvious errors. Any code that does not compile will receive at most 25% of the total possible points. Any resubmissions after the deadline require approval from the TA. No resubmissions may be made after a project has been graded.

Individual work

You are free to discuss ideas for both the labs and projects with other students, however no joint work is permitted. Any submitted work must be yours alone. Any work which shows too much similarity with others' submitted work will receive a grade of 0. Extreme or repeat cases may result in failing the course or referral to the Honor Commitee.

Read the CS Department honor code and the University honor code. You are bound by these honor codes.


In addition to the labs and projects there will be a midterm exam and a final. There will be no makeups on exams except under exceptional circumstances (as judged by instructors), and any such makeup must be arranged in advance. Grades will be computed using a weighted average of these scores with the weights: In addition, to get a passing grade in the course you must obtain at least 60% average grade on exams AND you must submit all projects and labs.