Welcome budding computer scientists and engineers! This semester you enter a brave new world where the shroud of mystery surrounding computers is slowly removed. Unfortunately, we won't be able to remove all the mystery, but you'll see that no magic is involved.


This course provides you with a basic understanding of how computers work. Starting from basic number and data representation we explore how computers store and manipulate information to perform computation. This is followed by higher-level systems designs including memory and input/output. We conclude with a brief discussion of advanced topics in computer systems design.

Topics covered include: C Programming, computer systems organization, machine language and assembly programming, machine representation of data and instructions, computer arithmetic, basic logic design, the CPU and instruction interpretation, memory organization, peripherals and I/O.

Prerequisites: Compsci 201 or equivalent, ability to program in a high level language.

Meeting Time & Location

Lecture: Monday, Wednesday 1:25pm - 2:40pm, Biological Sciences 111
Recitations: Wednesday various times and locations
Office Hours: See Sticky announcement on Piazza


Alvin Lebeck
Email: alvin.lebeck AT duke.edu
Office: D308 Levine Science Research Center

Graduate Teaching Assistants

Pulkit Misra: pulkit AT cs.duke.edu
Mike (Xiangyu) Zhang: xiangyu.zhang AT duke.edu

Undergraduate Teaching Assistants

Alex Boldt, David Boyer, Daniel Chai, Virginia Cheng, Samuel Goodman, Sean Hudson, Gabriel Kroch, Ezra Lieblich, Harrison Lundberg, Zachary Marion, Steven Mazzari, Helen Murphy, Tunjaicon Narongsak, Sophie Polson, Thomas Romano, Aditya Srinivasan, Annie Tang, Benjamin Zhang, Yumin Zhang, David Zhou

Discussion Forum

We are using Piazza for class discussion. The system is highly catered to getting you help fast and efficiently from classmates, the TA, and myself. Rather than emailing questions to the teaching staff, you should post your questions on Piazza.
  • Find our class page at: https://piazza.com/duke/fall2016/compsciece250/