Fall 2014 SPO600 Weekly Schedule
This is a summary/index table. Please follow the links in each cell for additional detail -- especially for the Deliverables column.
|Communication||20%||September 30, October 31, November 21, December 10|
|Quizzes||10%||May be held during any class, usually at the start of class. A minimum of 5 one-page quizzes will be given. No make-up/retake option is offered if you miss a quiz. Lowest 3 scores will not be counted.|
|Labs||10%||See deliverables column above.|
|Project work||60%||October 10, November 21, December 10|
Tuesday (Jan 7)
- Introduction to the Problem
- Most software is written in a high-level language which can be compiled into machine code for a specific architecture. However, there is a lot of existing code that contains some architecture-specific code fragments written in Assembly Language.
- Reasons for writing code in Assembly Langauge include:
- Atomic Operations
- Direct access to hardware features, e.g., CPUID registers
- Most of the historical reasons for including assembler are no longer valid. Modern compilers can out-perform most hand-optimized assembly code, atomic operations can be handled by libraries or compiler intrinsics, and most hardware access should be performed through the operating system or appropriate libraries.
- A new architecture has appeared: Aarch64, which is part of ARMv8. This is the first new computer architecture to appear in several years.
- There are over 1400 software packages/modules present in GNU Linux systems which contain architecture-specific assembly language code. Most of these packages cannot be built on Aarch64 systems without modification.
- In this course, you will:
- Select two software packages from a list compiled by Steve Macintyre of Linaro. Each of the packages on this list contains assembly language code which is platform-specific.
- Prepare a fix/patch for the software so that it will run on 64-bit ARM systems (aarch64). This may be done at either of two levels:
- Port - Add additional assembly language code for aarch64 (basic solution).
- Make Portable - Remove architecture-specific code, replacing it with compiler intrinsics or high-level code so that the software will successfully build on multiple platforms.
- Benchmark - Prove that your changes do not cause a performance regression on existing platforms, and that (ideally) it improves performance.
- Upstream your Code - Submitting your code to the upstream (originating) software project so that it can be incorporated into future versions of the software. This will involve going through a code review to ensure that your code is compatible with and acceptable to the upstream community.
- Optional: You can participate in the Linaro Code Porting/Optimization contest. For details, see the YouTube video of Jon "maddog" Hall and Steve Mcintyre at Linaro Connect USA 2013.
- Course details:
- Course resources are linked from the CDOT wiki, starting at http://zenit.senecac.on.ca/wiki/index.php/SPO600 (Quick find: This page will usually be Google's top result for a search on "SPO600").
- Coursework is submitted by blogging.
- Quizzes will be short (1 page) and will be held without announcement at any time. Your lowest three quiz scores will not be counted, so do not worry if you miss one or two.
- Course marks:
- 60% - Project Deliverables
- 20% - Communication (Blog and Wiki writing)
- 20% - Labs and Quizzes
- Friday classes will be held in an "Active Learning Classroom". You are encouraged to bring your own laptop to these classes.
- For more course information, refer to the SPO600 Weekly Schedule (this page), the Course Outline, and SPO600 Course Policies.
Friday (Jan 10)
Week 1 Deliverables
- Set up a blog and add it to Planet CDOT.
- Blog your conclusion to the SPO600 Code Review Lab.
- Add yourself to the Winter 2014 SPO600 Participants page (leave the projects columns blank).
- Sign and return the Open Source Professional Option Student Agreement.