CSE 20289 is a core Computer Science and Engineering course at the University of Notre Dame that explores the fundamentals of computing systems. This course introduces students to the Unix programming environment where they will explore various command line utilities, files, processes, memory management, system calls, data structures, networking, and concurrency. Examining these topics will enable students to become familiar and comfortable with the lower level aspects of computing, while providing the foundation for further study in subsequent systems courses such as computer architecture and operating systems.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Utilize unix commands to navigate filesystems, edit files, manage processes, explore system and network properties, produce documents and plots, and manipulate multimedia files.

  2. Employ Unix development tools to compile, link, build, debug, trace, profile, and test software applications.

  3. Compose shell scripts to automate tasks.

  4. Construct regular expressions and small programs to filter and process a variety of datasets.

  5. Develop basic Python scripts that process data and orchestrate processes.

  6. Manage memory and other system resources manually and utilize tools to help debug and profile applications.

  7. Utilize basic system calls to create processes that interact with each other via various forms of inter-process communication such as files, pipes, and sockets.

  8. Discuss the core tenets of the "Unix Philosophy" and how it is applied to modern software development.

Class Information

M/W/F 12:50 PM - 1:40 PM
102 DeBartolo Hall
Mailing List (Class)
Mailing List (Staff)


Peter Bui (pbui@nd.edu)
Office Hours
M/W/F 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM, and by appointment
Office Location
350 Fitzpatrick Hall

Help Protocol

  1. Think
  2. Slack
  3. Think
  4. Email
  5. Think
  6. Office

Teaching Assistants

Teaching Assistant
Alex Ayala (aayala4@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Edoardo Bianchi (ebianchi@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Kathleen Capella (kcapella@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Jack Collins (jcolli19@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
William Diederich (wdiederi@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Rosa Kim (jkim63@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Kyle Miller (kmille42@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Grace Milton (gmilton@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Michael Moynihan (mmoyniha@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Conor Nailos (cnailos@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Emily Strout (estrout@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Catalina Vajiac (cvajiac@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Logan Yokum (lyokum@nd.edu)

Office Hours

Unit Date Topics Assignment
Introduction 01/16 Introduction, Syllabus, Shell Slides Slides
01/18 Git, Markdown Slides Reading 00
Bourne Shell
Using The Shell 01/21 MLK Celebration Luncheon Reading 01
01/23 Files Slides
01/25 Processes, I/O Redirection Slides Slides Homework 01
Scripting The Shell 01/28 Networking Slides Reading 02
01/30 Bourne Shell Slides
02/01 Bourne Shell Homework 02
Filtering Text 02/04 Regular Expressions Slides Reading 03
02/06 Filters
02/08 Filters Homework 03
02/11 Review Reading 04
02/13 Checklist 01 Exam 01
Python Scripting 02/15 Expressions, Variables, Control Flow Slides
02/18 Data Structures, Files, Requests Reading 05
02/20 Regular Expressions, CSV, JSON
02/22 Processes, File System Homework 04
Parallel Computing 02/25 Functional Programming Slides Reading 06
02/27 Iterators, Generators Slides
03/01 Parallel Computing Slides
Hulk 03/04 Compiling, Building Slides Homework 05
03/06 Review Reading 07
03/08 Checklist 02 Exam 02
Spring Break
Pointers, Arrays, Strings 03/18 Pointers, Arrays, Strings Slides Reading 08
03/20 Debugging (GDB, Valgrind) Slides
03/22 Memory Allocation Slides Homework 06
Data Structures 03/25 Structs, Unions Slides Reading 09
03/27 Data Structures Slides
03/29 Data Structures Homework 07
System Calls
Files 04/01 I/O Slides Reading 10
04/03 File, Directories
04/05 File System Homework 08
Processes 04/08 Processes Slides Reading 11
04/10 Pipes
04/12 Signals Homework 09
Sockets 04/15 Sockets Slides Reading 12
04/17 TCP
04/19 Easter
Thor + Spidey 04/22 Easter
04/24 HTTP
04/26 VPS Slides
04/29 Closing Time
05/01 Project Project
05/03 Reading Day
Final 05/07 Checklist 03 Exam 03


Component Points
Readings Weekly reading assignments. 11 × 4
Homeworks Weekly homework assignments. 5 × 10, 4 × 13
Projects Final group project. 25
Exams Midterm and Final Exams. 30 + 36 + 63
Total 300


Grade Points Grade Points Grade Points
A 280-300 A- 270-279
B+ 260-269 B 250-259 B- 240-249
C+ 230-239 C 220-229 C- 210-219
D 195-209 F 0-194

Due Dates

All Readings and Homeworks are to be submitted to your own private GitLab repository. Unless specified otherwise:

  • Readings are due by noon on the Monday of the assigned week.

  • Homeworks are due by noon on the Saturday of the assigned week.

  • Projects are due by noon on the Saturday of the assigned week.



Students are expected to attend and contribute regularly in class. This means answering questions in class, participating in discussions, and helping other students.

Foreseeable absences should be discussed with the instructor ahead of time.

Students with Disabilities

Any student who has a documented disability and is registered with Disability Services should speak with the professor as soon as possible regarding accommodations. Students who are not registered should contact the Office of Disabilities.

Academic Honesty

Any academic misconduct in this course is considered a serious offense, and the strongest possible academic penalties will be pursued for such behavior. Students may discuss high-level ideas with other students, but at the time of implementation (i.e. programming), each person must do his/her own work. Use of the Internet as a reference is allowed but directly copying code or other information is cheating. It is cheating to copy, to allow another person to copy, all or part of an exam or a assignment, or to fake program output. It is also a violation of the Undergraduate Academic Code of Honor to observe and then fail to report academic dishonesty. You are responsible for the security and integrity of your own work.

Late Work

In the case of a serious illness or other excused absence, as defined by university policies, coursework submissions will be accepted late by the same number of days as the excused absence.

Otherwise, there is a penalty of 25% per day late (except where noted). You may submit some parts of an assignment on time and some parts late. Each submission must clearly state which parts it contains; no part can be submitted more than once.

Classroom Recording

This course will be recorded using Panopto. This system allows us to automatically record and distribute lectures to you in a secure environment. You can watch these recordings on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. In the course in Sakai, look for the "Panopto" tool on the left hand side of the course.

Because we will be recording in the classroom, your questions and comments may be recorded. Recordings typically only capture the front of the classroom, but if you have any concerns about your voice or image being recorded please speak to me to discuss your concerns. Except for faculty and staff who require access, no content will be shared with individuals outside of your course without your permission.

These recordings are jointly copyrighted by the University of Notre Dame and your instructor. Posting them to other websites (including YouTube, Facebook, SnapChat, etc.) or elsewhere without express, written permission may result in disciplinary action and possible civil prosecution.

CSE Guide to the Honor Code

For the assignments in this class, you may discuss with other students and consult printed and online resources. You may quote from books and online sources as long as you cite them properly. However, you may not look at another student's solution, and you may not look at solutions.

The following table summarizes how you may work with other students and use print/online sources:

Resources Solutions
Consulting Allowed Not Allowed
Copying Cite Not Allowed

See the CSE Guide to the Honor Code for definitions of the above terms.

If an instructor sees behavior that is, in his judgment, academically dishonest, he is required to file either an Honor Code Violation Report or a formal report to the College of Engineering Honesty Committee.


The Linux Command Line

William Shotts Online Version

Automate the Boring Stuff with Python

Al Sweigart Online Version

Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces

Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau, Andrea Arpaci-Dusseau Online Version