CSE 361S: Introduction to Systems Software

Fall 2012

Instructor Patrick Crowley, Bryan Hall 522-D, pcrowley AT wustl.edu
Course web site http://www.arl.wustl.edu/~pcrowley/cse/361/
Course discussion site
Course meeting times Tuesday & Thursday 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM in Lopata Hall 101
Labs meet in Lopata 400
Final exam
Office hours TBD
Prerequisites CSE 131 (formerly CS 101G) or CSE 126 (formerly CS 136G)
Haowei Yuan (web page, hyuan AT wustl.edu)
Office hours, lab help sessions: Thursday, 4pm-7pm in Lopata 400
Jason Barnes (jason.barnes AT wustl.edu)
Office hours, lab help sessions: Tuesday, 4pm-7pm in Lopata 400

Caveat: This syllabus is tentative, and subject to adjustments and changes throughout the semester.

Course Calendar

The course calendar contains links to daily lecture notes, readings, assignments, and other important details. You should visit it frequently.

Course Catalog Description

Formerly CS 306S. Introduction to the hardware and software foundations of computer processing systems. Examines the process whereby computer systems manage, interpret, and execute applications. Covers fundamental algorithms for numerical computation, memory organization and access, storage allocation, and the sequencing and control of peripheral devices. Weekly laboratories, exercises, and a final laboratory project. Prerequisites: CSE 131/CS 101G or 126/136G.

Texts & Reading Material

We have one required textbook:

We also have one recommended textbook. If you do not already own a copy, you should also get the classic text on C.

Tentative Course Topics and Schedule





Data representation

Ch. 2


Machine Programming

Ch. 3, 5


Computer Memory Hierarchies

Ch. 6


Linking Programs & Handling Exceptions

Ch. 7, 8


Virtual Memory

Ch. 9


Dynamic Memory Management

Ch. 9


Debugging & I/O

Ch. 10


Networks & Network Programming

Ch. 11


Web Services

Ch. 11


Virtual Machines/Concurrent Programming

Ch. 12


Assignments in this course will consist of laboratory projects, including a final project, and problem sets. Some of the projects will be completed in groups; all problem sets are to be completed individually.

Late Policy

As a general rule, late work will not be accepted. Special arrangements, either due to emergencies or made well in advance, will be considered individually.


This course will have midterm and final exams.


Your grade will be based on the following approximate breakdown (note that this ca:

Additional Materials

You might find the following helpful throughout the semester.

Disability Resources

Students with disabilities or suspected disabilities are strongly encouraged to both bring any additional considerations to the attention of the instructor and make full use of the University's Disability Resource Center (http://disability.wustl.edu).

Academic Integrity

(From Undergraduate Programs catalog, p. 16) You are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity and refrain from the forms of misconduct spelled out in the University Academic Integrity Policy, which is published in full in Bearings and elsewhere. Violations will lead to disciplinary action and may result in suspension or expulsion from the University.
Students and faculty have an obligation to uphold the highest standards of scholarship. Plagiarism or other forms of cheating are not tolerated. When a student has violated the standards of the academic community, an instructor may recommend that the student be brought before a disciplinary committee. These are the most frequent areas of violation:
Findings of academic misconduct may result in a written reprimand, failure of an assignment or course, disciplinary probation, withdrawal of merit-based scholarship support, or other sanctions. Severe or repeat offenses may be referred to the University Judicial Board for consideration of suspension or expulsion.