CIT 595 Course Overview (Spring 2014)

Course Objectives

This course is a continuation of CIT 593 and is divided into three parts. We will begin by building on your knowledge of C and computer architecture to introduce important concepts in modern operating systems: processes, scheduling, caching, and virtual memory. The second part of the course focuses on systems programming in C for Linux, specifically the libraries that programmers use for threading and concurrency, synchronization, inter-process communication, and networking. In the third part of the course, we will introduce C++ and then conclude with a final "capstone" project.

After completing this course, you will have the requisite knowledge and experience for systems-focused CIS electives such as 505 Software Systems, 542 Embedded Systems Programming, and 553 Networked Systems.

Class Meeting Times

Lecture: Mon/Weds 1:30-3:00pm, Towne 313 (some lectures will be held in Moore 207; see the course schedule for specific dates)
Lab/Recitation: Thurs 10:30am-noon, Moore 207

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There will be no required textbook for this course. There will be numerous assigned readings over the course of the semester, but they will be made available to you via Canvas.

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Note that these are only guidelines, but final course grades will likely be based on the following:

  • Midterm exams (30% total)
    • There will be two midterm exams, one following the first part (operating systems concepts), the other following the second (systems programming)
    • The exams will be open-book and open-notes, but you cannot use electronic devices.
    • There is no final exam!
  • Homework assignments (40%)
    • There will be 5-6 programming assignments over the course of the semester
    • You must work on these assignments alone unless specifically noted
  • Lab assignments (10%)
    • These will be short programming assignments to be completed during the lab time
  • Group project (20%)
    • This is a final capstone project that you will complete in groups of 2-3.
    • More info coming soon!


Credit for work will be recorded only as reported by the TA in the Gradebook in Canvas. 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 in Canvas 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. The 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 Piazza, 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 homework assignments using Canvas.

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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