EECS 213: Introduction to Computer Systems, Fall, 2013

Instructor:Peter A. Dinda (Office Hours: Thursdays 2-5pm or by appointment, Tech L463)
Teaching Assistants: Kyle Hale (Office Hours: Wednesdays 10-1 or by appointment, Ford 2-221)
Maciej Swiech (Office Hours: Tuesdays, 10-1 or by appointment, Ford 2-221)
Lecture Time:Mondays and Wednesdays, 2-3:20pm
Lecture Location:Tech LR4
Recitation Time:Mondays, 6pm (starts second week)
Recitation Location:Tech L361
Enrollment Limit:70

The class enrollment will be limited to 70 students. We are letting students in from the waiting list as space is available, giving priority to CS students. If you're in this situation, you should have received a permission number by email. If you're a CS student, and aren't on the waiting list, please email.

EECS 213 is a required core course in the Computer Science curriculum in both McCormick and Weinberg. It is also a required course for CS minors in both schools. 213 can also be taken for credit within the Computer Engineering curriculum.


We will not be using Blackboard for anything. For critical announcements, we will send email to the addresses that CAESAR maintains. Mostly, we will use (and want students to use) the Google Group EECS 213 at Northwestern for simple, persistent, and searchable communication among everyone in the class. This is where you want to go to post questions about lecture, homework, and programming projects. You need to sign up to access the group, which you can do here - You must either use a Northwestern email addresses, or a gmail address that we can easily map to your actual name.
Subscribe to EECS 213 at Northwestern
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Accounts, Remote Access, Getting Started with Unix

  • You will have a Linux account on the Wilkinson and TLab machines. Both labs are very convenient for working together. Mostly, though, you'll be using those machines as terminals. You should also be able to use NUIT labs near Tech, as these have been upgraded with remote tools like SSH, X11, VNC, and NX.
  • You will also have a Linux account on a private server we have set up. These accounts will be discussed in class.
  • You will be able to access the private server remotely using SSH (text-based login), NX (graphical remote desktop sessions), and X11 tunneled through SSH (remote graphical windows).
  • If you haven't used Linux or Unix before, you may want to watch this video: Introduction to Unix (Peter Dinda) (Real, Part 1, Real, Part 2 - use your netid and password to access these) or check out Prof. Bustamante's List of C and Unix Resources.
  • Handouts

  • Syllabus (pdf)

  • Physics To Logic (pdf)
  • Unix Systems Programming In A Nutshell (pdf)
  • Sockets In A Nutshell (pdf)
  • Concurency (pdf)
  • Programming Assignments

  • Data Lab (pdf) (Out: 4/2, In: 4/17)
  • Bomb Lab (pdf) (Out: 4/17, In: 5/6)
  • Buffer Lab (pdf) (Out: 5/6, In: 5/20)
  • SETI Lab (or Parallelism Lab) (pdf) (out: 5/20, In: 6/5)
  • Homework Assignments

  • HW 1: Integer and Floating Point Number Representations (pdf) (Out: 4/3, In: 4/15)
  • HW 2: De-compiling Assembly Code (pdf) (Out: 4/15, In: 4/29)
  • HW 3: Memory and Cache (pdf) (Out: 4/29, In: 5/15)
  • HW 4: Virtual Memory and I/O (pdf) (Out: 5/22, In: 6/5)
  • Lecture-related pointers

  • My Lecture Slides
    I am not using slides all that much. Nonetheless, the lectures for which I have used slides will appear below. You may also find the CMU lecture slides (see below) to be useful.
  • General lecture slides for the CMU version of the class
  • Java applets showing how gates are built from CMOS transistors
  • Java simulators of logic and more complex circuits
  • Resources

  • The Book's Student Site
    Contains many useful FAQs, Primers, etc.
  • The Book's Code
  • Make Introduction (pdf)
  • Gdb commands (pdf)
  • Gdb manual (html)
  • The ELF Format (pdf)
  • Comparison with GAS format and Intel's assembler format (text)
  • The Intel Architecture Manuals and the AMD Architecture Manuals
  • Gentle introduction to 64 bit x86 assembly (alternate link)
  • Compare and contrast with the beautiful and much mourned DEC Alpha, and with the very much alive and kicking ARM architecture that powers your phone and tablet
  • Overview of the Linux Kernel (pdf) (This is very old, but still a good intro)
  • Cygwin Unix Emulation Environment for Windows
  • Wilson, P., et al, Dynamic Storage Allocation: A Survey and Critical Review, International Workshop on Memory Managment, September, 1995. (pdf)

  • Peter Dinda
    Last modified: Tue Jun 4 13:48:59 CDT 2013