CIT 593 - Fall 2011

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CIT 593 Course Overview



Course Objectives

This course provides an introduction to fundamental concepts of systems programming. You will learn the C programming language and an instruction set (machine language) as a basis for understanding how computers represent data, process information, and execute programs. The course also focuses on the Unix environment and tools, and serves as a foundation for the subsequent course, CIT 595.

Class Meeting Times

Lab: M 1:30-3:00 (Moore 207)

Lecture: TR 4:30-6 (David Rittenhouse Lab A7)

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Introduction to Computing Systems: from bits & gates to C & beyond
Author: Yale N. Patt and Sanjay J. Patel
ISBN: 0072467509 (2nd Ed)
Errata  Preface

  • The C Programming Language, by Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie, often referred to as "K&R"
  • Problem Solving and Program Design in C, by Jeri R. Hanly and Elliot B. Koffman OR
  • Practical C Programming, by Steve Oualline (also can be found on Safari Online Textbooks through Penn Library)

Supplemental books On Reserve in Engineering Library:

  1. Structured Computer Organization – 5th Edition by Andrew S. Tanenbaum
  2. Principle of Computer Architecture by Miles J. Murdocca and Vincent P. Heuring

Online Resources: A lot of online material throughout the course can be found under the Resources section.

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  1. Homework assignments (45% of grade)
    • These are primarily programming assignments that must be completed on your own.
    • There will be occasional non-programming assignments that should preferably be typed.
    • Late homeworks submissions will be subject to a 10% grade deduction per day. Homeworks will not be accepted more than one week late, so that solutions may be posted.

  2. Lab assignments (10% of grade)
    • These are programming assignments that you will complete during the labs (Monday 1:30pm in Moore 207)
    • If the lab exercises cannot be completed during lab time, you will earn credit for whatever work you've done, but you should finish them on your own time as they may help you with your homework assignments
    • Helping each other during the lab is encouraged!

  3. In-class exams (20% of grade total)
    • There will be two in-class exams
    • Exams are closed book and notes

  4. Final exam (25% of grade)
    • This is a comprehensive exam that will be scheduled by the university registrar (currently scheduled for Thu, Dec 21, 6-8pm)
    • This exam is also closed book and notes


Credit for work will be recorded only as reported by the TA in the Gradebook on Blackboard. It is your responsibility to make sure that your work has been properly recorded in the Gradebook.

Make sure you notify the TA of any problems regarding missing records or incorrectly entered scores; the grade entries on the Blackboard will be considered permanent one week subsequent to their posting.

Our TAs will be responsible for adjudicating problems related to grading; the instructor will only be involved as a possible court of last appeal in case there is some truly difficult decision to make (i.e., in most cases, I will not be willing to second guess the TAs' decisions). To submit a request to the TA for a regrade of an assignment, email the TA stating the nature of the problem and the remedy you desire. You must submit this adjustment request within one week of the return of the material in question. TAs will not consider any requests for grade adjustments that are submitted later than this one week grace period.

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Academic Integrity

All work submitted for this class is expected to be your own, unless otherwise noted in the assignment instructions. If you are caught submitting work that is completely copied from some other source, or that has been prepared by somebody other than you, you will face severe discipline by the university.

Homework assignments are to be completed individually unless explicitly stated. You may talk to fellow classmates regarding the assignment and share ideas on Blackboard, but keep in mind what is appropriate and inappropriate about your collaboration:


  • Person A doesn't understand what exactly the problem is asking, e.g. writing actual C code vs. pseudocode. He discusses this with Person B to arrive at one or the other.
  • Person A does not understand a particular concept. Person B explains the concept using an example, other than one asked on the homework.


  • A attempts half the problem, and B attempts the other half. A and B copy the solutions to half the assignment that the other person wrote.
  • Together, A and B work out each homework problem on chalk/white board; then they separately copy down their work and turn it in.
  • Person A completed a programming assignment and just before turning it in, he deleted his program - oh no!!!. In desperation, he asks Person B if he can turn in a copy of her program.
  • Person A happens to be in the lab working on the assignment and notices that Person B is working on the same assignment. Person A is having trouble compiling his program, and asks Person B to fix the problem for him. Sounds safe, right? It's not.

Note: When in doubt always ask the instructor or TA first, to avoid any potential collabration that can lead to academic dishonesty.

You can further read Penn's Code of Academic Integrity page on this subject matter, as well as the SEAS Graduate Student guidelines on the code of ethics.

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Homework turn-in procedure

You will turn-in all programming assignments using Blackboard.

First, prepare the submission according to these instructions:

  1. Be sure the files you submit follow the naming guidelines stated in the assignment. This is to make things easier for the graders.
  2. Put all files in a directory named [your-id]_hwk[#]. For instance, if I were submitting homework #3, my directory would be cdmurphy_hwk3.
  3. From the parent directory, create a tar file named [your-id]_hwk[#].tar.

Then submit the file as follows:

  1. Log into Blackboard
  2. Open your course (CIT 593).
  3. In the main menu on the left-hand side, click "Assignments".
  4. Click on the assignment for which you want to submit your homework.
  5. In Section #2, "Assignment Materials", leave the "Submission" (the text area at the top) blank, as your submission will consist of files that you will upload.
  6. Below the textbox, next to the label "Attach File", click the "Browse My Computer" button. After you choose the file, you should see it listed next to the label "Attached files" (i.e., it should be uploaded automatically when you select it). Unless otherwise noted, your submission should consist of a single .tar file.
  7. After uploading all files, click the "Submit" button.

You may submit multiple times, but only the last submission will be graded.

Submissions after the deadline are subject to a 10% per day penalty, up to seven days, after which the submission will not be accepted.

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Questions or Comments

Your feedback is valuable and we want to do our best to address your questions and comments. Use the discussion board on Blackboard

  • About course material (concepts, homework, labs, logistics): Post a message on the bulletin board under appropriate forums. Please do not email the TA's or professor about these topics.
    • Note that you can also post anonymously
  • About special circumstances (e.g. lab/exam conflict): Email your professor.

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