Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective

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9780130340740: Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective

For Computer Organization and Architecture and Computer Systems courses in CS and EE and ECE departments. Developed out of an introductory course at Carnegie Mellon University, this text explains the important and enduring concepts underlying all computer systems, and shows the concrete ways that these ideas affect the correctness, performance, and utility of application programs. The text's concrete and hands-on approach will help students understand what is going on "under the hood" of a computer system.

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From the Back Cover:

A PROGRAMMER'S PERSPECTIVE

This book is for programmers who want to write faster and more reliable programs. By learning how programs are mapped onto the system and executed, readers will better understand why programs behave the way they do and how inefficiencies arise. Computer systems are viewed broadly, comprising processor and memory hardware, compiler, operating system, and networking environment. With its programmer's perspective, readers can clearly see how learning about the inner workings of computer systems will help their further development as computer scientists and engineers. It also helps prepare them for further study in computer architecture, operating systems, compilers, and networking.

Topics include: data representations, machine-level representations of C programs, processor architecture, program optimization, memory hierarchy, linking, exceptional control flow, virtual memory and memory management, system-level 1/O, network programming, and concurrent programming. The coverage focuses on how these areas affect application and system programmers. For example, when covering data representations, it considers how the finite representations used to represent numbers can approximate integer and real numbers, but with limitations that must be understood by programmers. When covering caching, it discusses how the ordering of loop indices in matrix code can affect program performance. When covering networking, it describes how a concurrent server can efficiently handle requests from multiple clients.

The book is based on Intel-compatible (IA32) machines executing C programs on Unix or related operating systems such as Linux. Some familiarity with C or C++ is assumed, although hints are included to help readers making the transition from Java to C.

A complete set of resources, including labs and assignments, lecture notes, and code examples are available via the book's Web site at csapp.cs.cmu.edu.

About the Author:

Randal E. Bryant received the Bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1973 and then attended graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving the Ph.D. degree in computer science in 1981. He spent three years as an Assistant Professor at the California Institute of Technology and has been on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon since 1984. He is currently the President's Professor of Computer Science and head of the Department of Computer Science. He also holds a courtesy appointment with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

He has taught courses in computer systems at both the undergraduate and graduate level for over 20 years. Over many years of teaching computer architecture courses, he began shifting the focus from how computers are designed to one of how programmers can write more efficient and reliable programs if they understand the system better. Together with Prof. O'Hallaron, he developed the course "Introduction to Computer Systems" at Carnegie Mellon that is the basis for this book. He has also taught courses in algorithms and programming.

Prof. Bryant's research concerns the design of software tools to help hardware designers verify the correctness of their systems. These include several types of simulators, as well as formal verification tools that prove the correctness of a design using mathematical methods. He has published over 100 technical papers. His research results are used by major computer manufacturers including Intel, Motorola, IBM, and Fujitsu. He has won several major awards for his research. These include two inventor recognition awards and a technical achievement award from the Semiconductor Research Corporation, the Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award from the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM), and the W. R. G. Baker Award and a Golden Jubilee Medal from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He is a Fellow of both the ACM and the IEEE.

David R. O'Hallaron received the Ph.D. degree in computer science from the University of Virginia in 1986. After a stint at General Electric, he joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1989 as a Systems Scientist. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Departments of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

He has taught computer systems courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, on such topics as computer architecture, introductory computer systems, parallel processor design, and Internet services. Together with Prof. Bryant, he developed the course "Introduction to Computer Systems" that is the basis for this book.

Prof. O'Hallaron and his students perform research in the area of computer -systems. In particular, they develop software systems to help scientists and engineers simulate nature on computers. The best known example of their work is the Quake project, a group of computer scientists, civil engineers, and seismologists who have developed the ability to predict the motion of the ground during strong earthquakes, including major quakes in Southern California, Kobe, Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand. Along with the other members of the Quake Project, he received the Allen Newell Medal for Research Excellence from the CMU School of Computer Science. A benchmark he developed for the Quake project, 183.equake, was selected by SPEC for inclusion in the influential SPEC CPU and OMP (Open MP) benchmark suites.

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