The Hardware/Software Interface

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8/10 stars
based on  11 reviews
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Cost FREE
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Course Details

Cost

FREE

Upcoming Schedule

  • TBA

Course Provider

Coursera online courses
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with yo...
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with your coursework. Coursera also partners with the US State Department to create “learning hubs” around the world. Students can get internet access, take courses, and participate in weekly in-person study groups to make learning even more collaborative. Begin your journey into the mysteries of the human brain by taking courses in neuroscience. Learn how to navigate the data infrastructures that multinational corporations use when you discover the world of data analysis. Follow one of Coursera’s “Skill Tracks”. Or try any one of its more than 560 available courses to help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

Provider Subject Specialization
Humanities
Sciences & Technology
4710 reviews

Course Description

Examines key computational abstraction levels below modern high-level languages. From Java/C to assembly programming, to basic processor and system organization.
The Hardware/Software Interface course image
Reviews 8/10 stars
11 Reviews for The Hardware/Software Interface

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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.

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Xiang Ji profile image
Xiang Ji profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 10 reviews
  • 5 completed
5 years, 7 months ago
It's kind of similar to a typical undergraduate computer organization course, with slightly more emphasis on a programmer's perspective. Like almost all other online courses, the content is shortened compared to the actual offering in UW, but not very much. It's compact enough and serves as quite a decent course for software programmers as a portal to gain basic understanding on computer structures. Assignments are challenging and you'll have to do some extra readings to tackle them, but they are also generally fun and rewarding. The reference textbook used, Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective is particularly of high quality.
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Greg Hamel profile image
Greg Hamel profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 116 reviews
  • 107 completed
4 years, 11 months ago
The hardware software interface covers computing from the level of the CPU to a low level programming language: C. Course content includes binary logic, C basics, C structs and arrays, x86 assembly, the stack and heap, caches, processes, virtual memory, memory allocation and differences between Java and C. The course consists of lecture videos with periodic in-lecture questions and several programming exercises. The presentation of material is good and the professors are easy to understand. On the other hand, the lectures didn't always cover everything you needed to know to tackle the homework; if you don't come into this course with any C experience, you'll probably need to do a bit of outside reading to tackle some of the homework. I also found myself getting a bit bored with this course due some long puzzle-like programming assignments and the low-level nature of the course. Overall, this is a quality MOOC focused on low level com... The hardware software interface covers computing from the level of the CPU to a low level programming language: C. Course content includes binary logic, C basics, C structs and arrays, x86 assembly, the stack and heap, caches, processes, virtual memory, memory allocation and differences between Java and C. The course consists of lecture videos with periodic in-lecture questions and several programming exercises. The presentation of material is good and the professors are easy to understand. On the other hand, the lectures didn't always cover everything you needed to know to tackle the homework; if you don't come into this course with any C experience, you'll probably need to do a bit of outside reading to tackle some of the homework. I also found myself getting a bit bored with this course due some long puzzle-like programming assignments and the low-level nature of the course. Overall, this is a quality MOOC focused on low level computing--a topic that is not covered in many online courses--but it takes a lot of time and attentiveness to complete all the content.
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Mike Kinny profile image
Mike Kinny profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 4 reviews
  • 3 completed
4 years, 10 months ago
Excellent course! The assignments are tough but I learned a ton by doing them.
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Daniele Antonioli profile image
Daniele Antonioli profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
4 years, 9 months ago
The course requirements are weak to tackle the course, especially the programming assignments. I would add: mandatory C knowledge (Java is not sufficient), familiarity with UNIX, hypervisors (vmware), gdb, gcc, terminal emulators and at least one Linux distro. If you have these skills you can really ;earn a lot and enjoy the course !
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Patrix Rembang profile image
Patrix Rembang profile image
7/10 starsCompleted
  • 10 reviews
  • 10 completed
5 years, 9 months ago
The lecturers explain very clearly the concepts in the videos. The programming assignments is challenging and really fun, though it's still doable even if you don't have any experience with C, like me. Unfortunately, there's no autograded quiz to test conceptual understanding. This course teaches many things, like data types representation in memory, how function calls work, memory allocation, etc. The contents are great, but sadly the course is managed poorly, and maybe the worst I have ever seen in Coursera. This course can serve as a good foundation to systems programming and operating systems course.
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jledoux profile image
jledoux profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 5 reviews
  • 5 completed
5 years, 12 months ago
Good course. Assignments are pretty much college level, and fun. Learn things like (old-style) buffer overflow, basic reverse engineering, how to implement malloc, basics of assembly/gdb. Instructors are very good, though recommend speeding up Guillermo's lectures (20%) as he speaks slowly (but don't speed up Luis's). Really hope they follow up at some point with a Systems Programming or Operating Systems course. The biggest downside of this course was that they presented many challenges that were hard, there was a very long hard deadline so you could never discuss the answers or the best way to do something. (E.g., you needed to be able to do some challenges in less than say 8 operations for full credit - but some managed to do it in 6 operations -- what tricks were used?) Also like a normal course, the course work isn't 100% self-contained in the class -- e.g., you can watch the lectures and still have to experiment a bunch to figu... Good course. Assignments are pretty much college level, and fun. Learn things like (old-style) buffer overflow, basic reverse engineering, how to implement malloc, basics of assembly/gdb. Instructors are very good, though recommend speeding up Guillermo's lectures (20%) as he speaks slowly (but don't speed up Luis's). Really hope they follow up at some point with a Systems Programming or Operating Systems course. The biggest downside of this course was that they presented many challenges that were hard, there was a very long hard deadline so you could never discuss the answers or the best way to do something. (E.g., you needed to be able to do some challenges in less than say 8 operations for full credit - but some managed to do it in 6 operations -- what tricks were used?) Also like a normal course, the course work isn't 100% self-contained in the class -- e.g., you can watch the lectures and still have to experiment a bunch to figure it out.
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Student profile image
Student profile image

Student

10/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
Excellent course, rich in contents. Topics are well explained. Instructors are enthusiastic about the subject. Home works are fun and challenging. The course is very helpful. I think it's more suitable for students who have some programming and computer architecture background.
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Student profile image

Student

10/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
Good course with fun (and some challenging) assignments Good introduction to low level programming. Need a bit of experience with C and using linux inside VM.
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Joan-Carles Catalan profile image
Joan-Carles Catalan profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
6 years, 1 month ago
The lectures explain the topics well and they progressively introduce more complicated topics. The assignments are really hard and you need to devote several hours to complete each one. It is the most time consuming part. The optional exercises provide a consolidation of the concepts. It is not a course for beginners and I will recommend previous C, assembly language and microprocessor architecture experience in order to complete all exercises successfully.
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Student

8/10 starsDropped
6 years, 1 month ago
Teachers are good and lectures are very helpful introducing the subject. But if you plan to pass the course and get a certificate be prepared to spend time with the textbook, since the programming assignments are not easy. I did some first assignments, but they took too much time and I decided to just watch the lectures.
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Student

2/10 starsDropped
6 years, 1 month ago
I have fair experience in C. I wanted to understand deep in to the workings of languages. However, this course is not what I expected. The instructors use a text book to parrot part of the topics. Nothing is clearly explained. Not worth it if you already do not know a lot about assembly etc or are not prepared to spend a lot of time and effort in it for reading further.
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