CS 270 is a general introduction to computer systems. Its goal is to provide an overall view of the components that make up a computer system and the ways in which programs interact with those components. The course touches on a broad range of topics, including hardware, assembly language, compilers, operating systems, networking, and client-server interaction. It presents topics from a programmer's perspective, hoping to develop a complete understanding of what happens when a program is executed. The course also introduces useful programming and debugging tools that can assist students in creating robust and efficient code. The course provides foundational programming skills required by many upper level classes.
More specifically, the course touches on hardware instruction sets, data representations, assembly and machine-level program representations, translation from C to assembly language, linking and loading, multiprogramming and multitasking, process and thread management, memory management, virtual memory, file I/O, network programming, and client-server protocols.
Students will acquire knowledge of computer systems and how to program them. More specifically, students will be able to
|Class||BS 116 MWF 9:00a ‒ 9:50a|
|Office||Hardymon 230 (7-3885)|
|Office hours||M 11:00a-12:30p, R 2:00p-3:30p.|
The course assumes a basic understanding of computer hardware. It also
assumes a basic level of proficiency in the C or C++ programming language.
Students should have completed or be simultaneously enrolled in EE 280.
Students must have taken CS 216.
Completion of CS/EE 380 is helpful but not required.
It is helpful to have more advanced programming skills; see
http://www.cs.uky.edu/~raphael/programming.html for a refresher.
The class has five in-class laboratories and five projects. These exercises all use virtual machines that students can access from their own computers. Students must bring laptop computers to the in-class laboratories. The purpose of all these exercises is to make the course topics real and to expose students to the challenges of developing robust and efficient software.
Students submit all projects and in-class lab assignments
electronically via the CS Portal:
The required textbook is
Randal E. Bryant and David R. O'Hallaron,
Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective (3rd edition),
The webpage for the book is at
The textbook has an associated "student site" at
with pointers to helpful resources for the C
language and the Linux operating system/programming environment,
as well as additional
resources for specific textbook chapters.
One can likely get a 2nd edition copy for much less money, and it will mostly
serve, although the 3rd edition is more complete with respect to 64-bit
The following books are not required, but they may be helpful as additional sources of information.
There will be two exams: an in-class midterm and a final. The final exam will only test material in the course covered after the midterm.
The following is a very tentative with respect to subjects covered.
|1‒15||Chapter in the textbook|
|a||Project 1 due at 9:00 AM|
|b||Project 2 due at 9:00 AM|
|c||Project 3 due at 9:00 AM|
|d||Project 4 due at 9:00 AM|
|e||Project 5 due at 9:00 AM|
|f||Absolute deadline for submitting work|
|M||Discuss midterm exam|
|n||No class - University holiday|
|r||No class - Religious holiday|
|i||Final: Wednesday May 2 8:00‒10:00am|
Students will be graded 50% on projects, 40% on exams (30% on each student's better exam, 10% on the other one), 5% on attendance, and 5% on in-class lab assignments. Final grades will be assigned according to the following scale: A=90-100%, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, E=0-59%. I generally do not give incomplete grades.
Projects are due at the start of class on the days indicated above. Laboratory assignments should be done during class on the indicated days, but they will be accepted until midnight that night. After that time they will get a 0 grade.
Late projects are penalized 3% (of the total possible points) per day for each day late, not including weekend or holidays. The maximum penalty is 7 days late; after that, one may hand in an assignment and still get 79%. However, the absolute deadline is class time on Wednesday of the last week of classes. No extra credit is available on late projects. A student who turns in a project early gains early credits (which also ignore weekends and holidays), which are only used to offset late penalties on other assignments but have no other value.
Attendance is mandatory. Part of your grade depends on attendance. Of course, I'll make reasonable allowances for family emergencies, medical events (suitably documented at Tier 2 or Tier 3), job interviews (with verification) or religious observances (inform me in writing during the first week of class).
Students must use the computing facilities on campus in accordance
with standards of honesty and personal
conduct. Those standards, outlined in the University of Kentucky
Policy governing access to and use of University of Kentucky computing resources ,
call for all members of the community to act in a responsible,
ethical, and professional way.
All academic work, written or otherwise, that you submit is expected to be the result of your own thought, research, or self-expression. You may certainly discuss the assignments with each other, but you must not show each other your work; everyone must develop the assignments completely independently. It is a serious offense to allow other students to copy your work or to copy the work of other students (even if it is in a public computer file or on github based on similar assignments). If you borrow ideas, algorithms, wording, or code from other sources, you must acknowledge that fact or you have committed plagiarism. If you directly take more than about 4 words in a row from any source, you must indicate that you have done so, typically with a footnote or an in-line citation, using indentation or quote marks to set off the quoted text. (Some of this text was taken years ago from an online plagiarism guide that I can no longer find.) I punish offenses against this policy quite strictly.