Syllabus: CS 367


Computer Systems from the Programmer’s Perspective

Spring 2012– Lecture Section 001

Fridays 1:30-4:10pm

 Art & Design, rm 2026


This course provides an introduction to computer systems from a programmer’s perspective.  Topics include machine-level representation of data and programs, linking and loading, processes, virtual memory and memory allocation.

Course Outcomes

-       Demonstrate an ability to design and implement C Programs.

-       Demonstrate knowledge of computer arithmetic and logic operations and representations of data at the machine-level.

-       Demonstrate knowledge of machine-level representations of (C) programs.

-       Demonstrate an ability to use debuggers.

-       Demonstrate an understanding of object file linking and related ideas such as relocatable object files and symbol resolution.

-       Demonstrate an understanding of the idea of a process, how processes are created and laid out in memory, how processes use virtual memory, and how they are manipulated via interrupts, signals, and context switches.


-       Grade of C or better in CS 262 (or CS 222), and

-       Grade of C or better in ECE 303, 331, or 445

The prerequisites are strictly enforced.

Professor Contact Information

Dr. Mark Snyder 

Office:            Engineering Rm. 5346  (703-993-5624)

Office Hours:  Wednesdays 1-4pm, or by appt.



Computer Systems: A Programmer’s Perspective by Randal Bryant and David O’Halleron (Prentice Hall, Second Edition).

Course Materials

BlackBoard ( – All assignments must be submitted (per published deadlines) as directed, either via BlackBoard or through an IT&E account.
GTA/UTA contact information, class schedule, slides, materials, assignments, grades and other relevant documents are available on BB.


Students must use GMU email system for all correspondence with any professor, GTA, or UTA.


15% - Homework assignments (up to 8)

30% - Lab assignments (3)

30% - Two 15% exams

25% - Final exam


A 10-point grading scale will be used.  Grading percentages may be adjusted as circumstances change, but in general there will not be a curve.

Class Policies

Students are expected to arrive at lectures on time. On rare occasions when tardiness is unavoidable, enter the classroom quietly and sit near the door to avoid disruption of class proceedings. Show courtesy to your fellow students and to the lecturer conducting the session.


Students are expected to act in a professional manner and participate in lecture.  Behavior should neither distract others nor show disrespect.  So leave the loud crunchy chips at home, and don’t text/browse facebook during lecture.

Computer Accounts

You must obtain an IT&E labs account if you do not already have one.  You programs will need to execute correctly on this IT&E system since that system will be used while grading your projects.

Contested Grades

Contesting grades on any/all submissions must occur 24 hours after its return, in order to cool down and consider the actual reasons for the grade. One week after the item's return, no grade changes will be considered subsequent to that deadline, or after the final exam meeting.


Exams are closed book/notes, and must be taken in pencil. Appropriate documentation (as determined by instructor) and requisite permissions are required for make-up exam requests. Picture IDs are required to take all exams. Note: A failing grade on the final exam (<60%) will result in a failing grade (F) for the entire course, regardless of performance on other assignments.

Honor Code

All students are expected to abide by the GMU Honor Code. We take this policy very seriously and it is rigorously enforced. All class-related assignments are considered individual efforts unless explicitly expressed otherwise, in writing. Students should also review and understand the CS Honor Code Policies and the CS Statement on Academic Integrity. Any questions regarding these policies should be discussed with the professor.

Learning Disabilities

Students with a learning disability or other condition (documented with GMU Office of Disability Services) that may impact academic performance should speak with the professor ASAP to discuss accommodations.