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Systems Software COP-3402

University of Central Florida
Fall 2018
Section 1

Prerequisite(s): CDA 3103C and COP 3502C each with a grade of C (2.0) or better.

Course References

Syllabus Repository

All assignment submissions must go through GitHub Classroom, which requires a free GitHub account.

Please provide the github ID via webcourses.

Meeting Times

Note: all times are in UCF's Eastern time zone; all dates are implicitly the course semester's year.

Building codes can be found here:


MW 7:30PM-8:45PM CB2-O101


W 2:30PM NSC-108

W 3:30PM NSC-108

W 4:30PM CB1-320

Final Exam

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 7:00PM-9:50PM

Held in our classroom.

Contact Info


Paul Gazzillo

Office Hours:

  • M 4:30PM-5:30PM
  • W 4:30PM-6:00PM
  • or by appointment
  • 11/05, 11/07 moved to 11/09 9:00-11:00 and 12:00-1:00


Sharare Zehtabian

Necip Yildiran
Office Hours: MW 10.30AM-11.30AM

Course Description

Design and development of assemblers, linkers, loaders, and compilers. Study memory hierarchy, program performance, and system level I/O.

Learning Outcomes

This course is designed to provide a fundamental understanding of real and virtual machines as language processor and the implementation of compilers. We will study the processor as an instruction interpreter. Compilers, assemblers, linkers and loaders, and virtual machines will be presented as systems software for program development. An introduction to Operating system will be given.


Important Dates

Note: all times are in UCF's Eastern time zone.


See webcourse announcements for the GitHub classroom submission link for each assignment.

Be sure to submit the GitHub repo URL to webcourses._

See the repo for detailed instructions.


  • Midterm in class 10/10 7:30PM

  • Final Exam Wednesday, December 5, 2018 7:00PM-9:50PM

Weekly Schedule

Bold dates are important dates that will not be moved earlier.

Weekly topics may shift earlier or later depending on the speed of lectures, student interest, etc, but the general flow of the topics will remain the same.

Week 1

Introduction, Grading, Setting up Git

08/20 Intro

08/22 Processor

C and Makefiles:

Git tutorials:

Week 2

Virtual Machines as Instruction Interpreter

08/27 Processor

08/29 Virtual Machines

Week 3

Subprogram Implementation

09/03 No Class (labor day)

09/05 Virtual Machines

  • Activation records, hand-drawn notes
  • [Subprograms](slides/lecture3_subprograms.pdf

Week 4

Compilers and Interpreters

09/10 Compilers and Interpreters

09/12 Lexical Analysis

Dragon book Ch3, 3.1-3.7 (inclusive).

Assignment 1 PM/0 Due 09/16 11:59PM

Week 5

Lexical Analysis

09/17 Lexical Analysis

Dragon book Ch3, 3.1-3.7 (inclusive).

More info on regular languages and finite automata:

09/19 Syntax Analysis

Dragon book Ch4, 4.1,4.2

Week 6


09/24 Syntax Analysis

09/26 Syntax Analysis Recursive Descent

Week 7

10/01 LL1 Parsing

10/03 Lexing and Parsing Overview

Assignment 2 Lexer Due 10/07 11:59PM

Week 8

10/08 Review for the Midterm

  • pm/0 and activation records

    • draw activation records for a given program execution
    • identify base pointer, stack pointer
    • dynamic link, static link
    • recursion
    • stack machine vs register machine
  • regular languages and lexing

    • math defintion of a regular language: language (strings over a finite alphabet) that can be described with a regular expression
    • convert between english language description, regular expression, and discrete finite automata
    • hand-coding a lexer from a regular expression
    • lexemes vs tokens
    • ascii encoding
  • cfgs and parsing

    • math definition of cfg (terminals, nonterminals, productions, starting symbol)
    • identify ambiguous grammar (two derivations), operator precedence
    • draw parse tree for tokens given grammar
    • identify left recursion, do left factoring
  • exam layout

    • 22 questions, 50pts
    • 9 multiple choice
    • 13 open answer (3 with multiple parts)
    • 8pts on activation records
    • 27pts on regular languages/expressions, DFAs
    • 15pts on CFGs, parse trees (2pt left factoring/recursion)

10/10 Midterm

Midterm in class 10/10 7:30PM

Week 9

10/15 LR Parsing

  • Dragon book 4.6 and 4.7.

10/17 LR Parsing

Week 10

10/22 Midterm exam discussion

10/24 Code Generation

Week 11

Type checking

10/29 Code Generation, Type Checking

10/31 Type Checking, Formal Semantics and Types

Week 12

Static analysis, control-flow, data-flow, machine code generation, assembly

11/05 Control-Flow Analysis

11/07 Data-Flow Analysis

Assignment 3 Parser/Code Gen Due 11/04 (changed from 10/28) 11:59PM

Week 13

Static analysis, control-flow, data-flow, machine code generation, assembly

11/12 No Class (Veteran's Day)

11/14 Data-Flow Analysis, Assembly

Week 14

Operating systems, processes, files

11/19 OS Intro

11/21 Software security basics

Week 15

11/26 Review for the Final

11/28 Review for the Final

  • 20 questions

    • 50 points
    • 10 multiple choice
    • 10 open-ended
  • Contents

    • Purpose of the phases of the compiler and operating system
      • lexer, parser, type checker, intermediate code, optimization, machine code generator, assembler, linker, loader
    • Questions on regular languages and context-free languages similar to the midterm
    • Writing a recursive descent parser
    • Running the LR parsing algorithm
    • Code generation given a source program
    • Drawing control-flow graphs for source programs
    • Answering data-flow analysis questions for reaching definitions
    • Purpose of kernel subsystems: file system, process table, scheduler, virtual memory
    • Partial orders

Assignment 4 Compiler Due 12/07 11:59PM

Be sure to update your Assignment 2 and Assignment 3 repos (don't push to the Assignment 4 repo)


  • 20% Midterm Exam: closed book, closed notes exam given in class
  • 30% Final Exam: closed book, closed notes comprehensive exam given during final exam week. You must score at least 60% on this exam to pass the course
  • 50% Programming project
    • 15% Assignment 1 PM/0
    • 5% Assignment 2 Lexer
    • 5% Assignment 3 Parser/Code Gen
    • 25% Assignment 4 Compiler
  • Extra 7%: Participation, recitation attendance, quizzes. Completion of these tasks can add extra percentage points, e.g., if you receive an 86% average on the exams and project and 6% on the recitations and quizzes, your final score will be a 92%.

No late submissions for the programming project will be accepted except in accordance with University policy. However, the programming project is cumulative: assignments 2-4 each depend on the previous assignment and assignment 4 depends on all previous assignments. The assignment weights reflect this dependence.

Assignment Grading in Detail

Assignment 1:

  • 5pts if it compiles and runs (even if no tests pass)
    • or 3pt if there is substantial implementation effort but doesn't compile
  • 5pts for the given test cases (e.g., .5pt for each case)
  • 5pts for the secret test cases

Assignment 2:

  • 1pt if it compiles and runs (even if no tests pass) or 0.5pt if there is substantial implementation effort but doesn't compile
  • 2pts for the given test cases (1/7 each)
  • 2pts for the secret test cases (1/7 each)

Assignment 3:

  • 1pt if it compiles and runs (even if no tests pass) or 0.5pt if there is substantial implementation effort but doesn't compile
  • 2pts for the given test cases
  • 2pts for the secret test cases

Assignment 4:

  • Grade is on the full compiler, including the lexer and the parser
  • 5pts for the lexer
  • 5pts for the parser
  • 15pts for code generation
    • 5pts if it compiles and runs with some coding effort
    • 5pts for the given test cases
    • 5pts for the secret test cases

Grade Calculation

The score is a weight average of the exams and programming project plus the extra points, i.e.,

(midterm * 20% + final * 30% + project * 50%) + extra

Letter grades

A >= 90%, B+ >= 87%, B >= 80%, C+ >= 77%, C >= 70%, D >= 60%, F < 60%.

Programming Project

The programming project consists in implementing a compiler for a tiny programming language. The compiler must generate code for a virtual machine that will run. The project will be divided in four modules:

  1. Virtual Machine implementation (PM/0)
  2. Lexer
  3. Parser/Code Generation
  4. Compiler

Details will be given out well before the due dates for each part of the project.

This project must be written in C (not C++) on a UNIX system. The standard for this class will be the Linux system in the main computer lab called Eustis. You are welcome to write and test code on some other system, if you wish, but it will be graded on Eustis and if it does not work there, it does not work. You will be given a Eustis account at the beginning of the semester, and instructions on how to access your account can be found on the Assignments section at the course's webpage.

Tips on using Eustis, MobaXterm, and VPN for Windows users.

Students may work alone on the programming project or with at most one other person for a maximum team size of two. Teams are created on GitHub classroom when accepting the assignment. If there is a need to change or dissolve a team, please talk to the instructor about

Course Materials


  • Compilers: Principles, Techniques, & Tools, Second Edition by Alfred V. Aho, Monica S. Lam, Ravi Sethi, and Jeffrey D. Ullman. Addison Wesley, 2007


  • Advanced Compiler Design and Implementation by Steven Muchnich. Morgan Kaufman, 1997
  • Modern Compiler Implementation in C by Andrew Appel. Cambridge University Press, 1998
  • Compiler Construction: Principles and Practice by Kenneth C. Louden, PWS, 1997
  • Concepts of Programming Languages, 8th Edition by Robert W. Sebesta. Addison Wesley, 2010.

Core Policy Statements

Academic Integrity

The Center for Academic Integrity (CAI) defines academic integrity as a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. From these values flow principles of behavior that enable academic communities to translate ideals into action.

UCF Creed: Integrity, scholarship, community, creativity, and excellence are the core values that guide our conduct, performance, and decisions.

  1. Integrity: I will practice and defend academic and personal honesty.

  2. Scholarship: I will cherish and honor learning as a fundamental purpose of my membership in the UCF community.

  3. Community: I will promote an open and supportive campus environment by respecting the rights and contributions of every individual.

  4. Creativity: I will use my talents to enrich the human experience.

  5. Excellence: I will strive toward the highest standards of performance in any endeavor I undertake.

The following definitions of plagiarism and misuse of sources come from the Council of Writing Program Administrators and have been adopted by UCF's Department of Writing & Rhetoric.


In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else's language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledg­ing its source. This definition applies to texts published in print or on-line, to manuscripts, and to the work of other student writers.

Misuse of Sources

A student who attempts (even if clumsily) to identify and credit his or her source, but who misuses a specific citation format or incorrectly uses quotation marks or other forms of identifying material taken from other sources, has not plagiarized. Instead, such a student should be considered to have failed to cite and document sources appropri­ately.

Responses to Academic Dishonesty, Plagiarism, or Cheating

UCF faculty members have a responsibility for your education and the value of a UCF degree, and so seek to prevent unethical behavior and when necessary respond to infringements of academic integrity. Penalties can include a failing grade in an assignment or in the course, suspension or expulsion from the university, and/or a "Z Designation" on a student's official transcript indicating academic dishonesty, where the final grade for this course will be preceded by the letter Z. For more information about the Z Designation, see

For more information about UCF's Rules of Conduct, see

Unauthorized Use of Class Materials

There are many fraudulent websites claiming to offer study aids to students but are actually cheat sites. They encourage students to upload course materials, such as test questions, individual assignments, and examples of graded material. Such materials are the intellectual property of instructors, the university, or publishers and may not be distributed without prior authorization. Students who engage in such activity are in violation of academic conduct standards and may face penalties.

Unauthorized Use of Class Notes

Faculty have reported errors in class notes being sold by third parties, and the errors may be contributing to higher failure rates in some classes. The following is a statement appropriate for distribution to your classes or for inclusion on your syllabus:

Third parties may be selling class notes from this class without my authorization. Please be aware that such class materials may contain errors, which could affect your performance or grade. Use these materials at your own risk.

In-Class Recording Policy

Outside of the notetaking and recording services offered by Student Accessibility Services, the creation of an audio or video recording of all or part of a class for personal use is allowed only with the advance and explicit written consent of the instructor. Such recordings are only acceptable in the context of personal, private studying and notetaking and are not authorized to be shared with anyone without the separate written approval of the instructor.

Course Accessibility Statement

The University of Central Florida is committed to providing access and inclusion for all persons with disabilities. This syllabus is available in alternate formats upon request. Students with disabilities who need specific access in this course, such as accommodations, should contact the professor as soon as possible to discuss various access options. Students should also connect with Student Accessibility Services (Ferrell Commons, 7F, Room 185,, phone (407) 823-2371). Through Student Accessibility Services, a Course Accessibility Letter may be created and sent to professors, which informs faculty of potential access and accommodations that might be reasonable.

Campus Safety Statement

Emergencies on campus are rare, but if one should arise in our class, we will all need to work together. Everyone should be aware of the surroundings and familiar with some basic safety and security concepts.

  • In case of an emergency, dial 911 for assistance.

  • Every UCF classroom contains an emergency procedure guide posted on a wall near the door. Please make a note of the guide's physical location and consider reviewing the online version at

  • Familiarize yourself with evacuation routes from each of your classrooms and have a plan for finding safety in case of an emergency. (Insert class-specific details if appropriate)

  • If there is a medical emergency during class, we may need to access a first aid kit or AED (Automated External Defibrillator). To learn where those items are located in this building, see (click on link from menu on left). (insert class specific information if appropriate)

  • To stay informed about emergency situations, sign up to receive UCF text alerts by going to and logging in. Click on "Student Self Service" located on the left side of the screen in the tool bar, scroll down to the blue "Personal Information" heading on your Student Center screen, click on "UCF Alert", fill out the information, including your e-mail address, cell phone number, and cell phone provider, click "Apply" to save the changes, and then click "OK."

  • If you have a special need related to emergency situations, please speak with me during office hours.

  • Consider viewing this video ( about how to manage an active shooter situation on campus or elsewhere.

Deployed Active Duty Military Students

If you are a deployed active duty military student and feel that you may need a special accommodation due to that unique status, please contact your instructor to discuss your circumstances.