Carnegie Mellon University

15-513 Introduction to Computer Systems

Introduction to Computer Systems is a 6 unit full semester course.

This course provides a programmer's view of how computer systems execute programs, store information, and communicate. It enables students to become more effective programmers, especially in dealing with issues of performance, portability and robustness. It also serves as a foundation for courses on compilers, networks, operating systems, and computer architecture, where a deeper understanding of systems-level issues is required. Topics covered include: machine-level code and its generation by optimizing compilers, performance evaluation and optimization, computer arithmetic, memory organization and management, networking technology and protocols, and supporting concurrent computation. You can sign up for 15-513 for either 6 or 12 credits.  The reason there are two options is that you might be taking 15-513 in order to review the material and qualify to take other courses in your program.  If this is the case, we expect that the work load for 15-513 will be more like a 6 unit class.  If, on the other hand, you are seeing the material for the first time, then it will be like a 12-unit course for you.  So, you need to decide, possibly in conjunction with your advisor which situation you are in and then sign up for the proper number of units. 

Important Note for MSIT-ESE Students:

All students in the MSIT-ESE program will be required to complete a prerequisite course, Introduction to Computer Systems (15513) as 6 units prior to their arrival at CMU. This course is required before students take the ECE core courses Realtime Embedded Systems (17648) and Distributed Embedded Systems (17649). Typically students take one of these core courses (17648 or 17649) in their first fall semester and the other in their second fall semester. This distributes the course load of these challenging courses. Students who fail to complete the prerequisite (15513) prior to their arrival at CMU will be required to take this course in their first semester, and then will have to take both ECE core courses (17648 and 17649) in their second fall semester.