Computer Science Department
College of Arts and Sciences

Fundamentals of Computing Systems

Class Offerings:

The following are the Home Pages of my latest offerings of CS350 (in reverse chronological order).


This course is a required sophomore/junior-level Computer Science course. It covers the fundamental concepts underlying the design and implementation of computing systems.

The philosophy underlying the design of this course is that students should be familiarized with problems that reoccur in software systems, and should be acquainted with the set of classical algorithms for solving such problems. In particular, it is important to develop the ability to recognize standard problems in different wordings and within unusual context, and match them with appropriate algorithms.

Catalog Description:

Rigorous treatment of invariant concepts, algorithms, and performance evaluation methods underlying computing systems design. Topics include modeling and analysis of concurrent processing, computational resource scheduling and consumption, and performance evaluation techniques.

Relationship to Other Courses:

    Prerequisite Required Courses

  • CS-210
  • CS-237 (or approval of instructor)

    Recommended Follow-up Courses

  • CS-410
  • CS-552
  • CS-455/655
  • CS-470
Function in the Curriculum:

As a core undergraduate course, CS-350 does not focus on particular implementations or specific technologies. On the contrary, it stresses the fundamental concepts and basic algorithms that have survived (and are likely to survive) the evolution of computer software systems in general, and operating systems in particular.

This course is significantly different in purpose and coverage from CS-210 (Computer Systems). CS-210 introduces computer systems to sophomores using a hands-on approach by examining the "mechanics" of modern (or typical) computer operation through exposure to various interfaces between architecture, compilers, loaders, linkers, and run-time systems. CS-350 does not focus on a particular interface or a particular technology, rather it deals with fundamental notions and algorithms that are common to computing systems in general and to software systems in particular.

This course is required or recommended for the following advanced courses: CS-552 (Advanced Operating Systems), CS-550 (Advanced Computer Architecture), CS-551 (Parallel Computing Architectures and Models), CS-455/655 (Computer Networks), and CS-560 (Databases). In that respect, this course covers basic notions that we expect students (graduates and undergraduates alike) enrolling into these classes to have mastered. For example, it is inconceivable that a student who is interested in taking a database class, not to have being exposed to the notion of concurrent processing and mutual exclusion, for example.

Topical Contents:

The topics covered in this class could be grouped under 3 general themes:

  • Performance Analysis and Evaluation
  • Scheduling and Resource Management
  • Concurrency and Synchronization

Created on: 1997-10-01
Updated on: 2016-01-17

Maintainer: Azer Bestavros