Important #1: Click to sign up for this class on Piazza!
Important #2: Click to register with Gradiance with class token FC5BC145.

What do we teach?

This course teaches program analysis techniques used in compilers and software development tools to improve productivity, reliability, and security. Emphasis on the methodology of applying mathematical abstractions such as graphs, fixpoint computations and binary decision diagrams to writing complex software, using compilers as an example.

How do you learn this?

This is a course where math and programming meet. Learning compiler techniques has much in common with learning mathematical proofs. You learn by trying, finding your own insights. This means the assignments can take a variable amount of time! We want you to formulate your own variations of problems and solve them.

How is the course structured?

  • Highly interactive lectures, textbook reading.
  • Gradiance assignments explore mathematical concepts from lectures.
  • Programming assignments analyze Java code.
  • Problem sessions for discussion.
  • Piazza for offline questions.
  • Midterm and Final.

Logistics When, where, what and how

Lectures Mondays and Wednesdays 11:00am - 12:15pm in Gates B03
Problem Session Friday 11:00am - 11:50am in Skilling Auditorium
Prerequisites CS 103 or CS 103B, and CS 107; Java programming language experience
Textbook Compilers: Principles, Techniques, & Tools (Second Edition), Alfred V. Aho, Monica S. Lam, Ravi Sethi, Jeffrey D. Ullman, Addison-Wesley, 2007.
Class Q&A Website CS243 on Piazza - for all questions related to the material
Videos of Lectures SCPD Webcast for Stanford Students
Staff Mailing List for administrative questions
Midterm February 10 at Gates B03
Final March 17 (Monday) 8:30am-11:30am at Gates B03

Where do I ask questions?

All questions related to the material should go to Piazza. Using Piazza for questions should significantly decrease the average response time, since there are more instructors and students there to see the question. If another student can answer the question, that will help them learn, too.

Administrative questions should all go to . Please do not email individual staff members.

Grading Policy

Gradiance 10%
Projects 45%
Midterm 15%
Final 30%
Lab Extra Credit up to 10% (applied after curve)

Staff Professor and TA details

IMPORTANT Contact us using the for administrative questions.

John Whaley, Instructor

Office Gates 406
Office Hours By arrangement via
Contact Details

Jeffrey Ullman, Instructor

Office Gates 425
Office Hours By arrangement via
Contact Details

Dror Maydan, Instructor

Office TBA
Office Hours By arrangement via
Contact Details

Darlene Hadding, Admin

Office Gates 408
Phone (650) 723-1430

Sundaram Ananthanarayanan, TA

Office Gates B24B
Office Hours Tuesday Thursday 5PM - 7PM
Contact Details

Sujeet Gholap, TA

Office Gates B24A
Office Hours Friday 3PM - 7PM
Contact Details

Amritha Raghunath, TA

Office Gates B26B
Office Hours Monday Wednesday 4PM - 6PM
Contact Details

How are office hours structured?

The TAs each hold office hours twice a week. The instructors hold office hours by arrangement via email.

SCPD students Join the Google Hangout during office hours (link posted on Piazza).

Tentative Schedule Subject to change

Date Topic Reading Lecture notes Assignment out Assignment due
Jan 6 [M]Introduction1.1-5, 8.4, 8.5, 9.1Lecture 1 Handout, Slides, Example
Jan 8 [W]Dataflow Analysis Introduction9.2Lecture 2 Slides 1 PDF 1
Slides 2 PDF 2
Jan 13 [M]Dataflow Analysis Foundations9.3Lecture 3 Slides PDFGradianceJan 20
Jan 15 [W]Constant Propagation, Loops9.4, 9.6Lecture 4 Slides PDF
Jan 20 [M]MLK day, no classGradianceJan 27
Jan 22 [W]Constant Propagation, LoopsLecture 5 Slides PDF
Jan 27 [M]Partial Redundancy Elimination9.5Lecture 6 Slides PDF
Jan 29 [W]Register Allocation8.8
Feb 3 [M]Instruction Scheduling10.1-10.4
Feb 5 [W]Software Pipelining10.5
Feb 10 [M]Midterm
Feb 12 [W]Dynamic Compilation
Feb 17 [M]President's Day, no class
Feb 19 [W]Pointer Analysis12
Feb 24 [M]BDDs in Pointer Analysis12
Feb 26 [W]BDDs in Pointer Analysis (cont)12
Mar 3 [M]Data Dependence Analysis11.1-11.1.4, 11.6
Mar 5 [W]Loop Transformations11.10-11.11
Mar 10 [M]Garbage Collection7.4, 7.5, 7.6
Mar 12 [W]Advanced Garbage Collection7.7, 7.8
Mar 17 [M]Final (8:30 am - 11:30 am) in Gates B01

Problem Sessions Friday 11:00am - 11:50am

Date Problem Session
Jan 8 No discussion section first week, but Professor Ullman will be holding office hours in his office (Gates 433) on Wednesday, January 8th from 1:00-3:00pm.

Handouts and Graded Assignments What happens with physical materials

CS243 will be using the Gradiance automated homework system for some of the required work. You should open your free account at and then sign up for the class using the "class token" FC5BC145.

Gradiance looks like multiple-choice questions, but it is really quite different. You are given problems to work out, just as you would in an ordinary homework. You are then given a multiple-choice question to test whether or not you have the correct solution. If you get a choice wrong, you are given a hint and encouraged to try again. You are allowed to try as many times as you like, and the goal is to get everything right eventually. To avoid repeated guessing on one problem at a time, you need to repeat all the questions each time you submit, and you will be given a different set of choices each time.

SCPD students: Please download the lecture notes before the lecture; the material will be available by the morning of the lecture. Your assignments will be returned via the SCPD courier. Since all the material for the assignments will be available on the web, you have to give your assignments to the SPCD courier (or hand it in electronically) on the same day as everybody else.

Assignment Policy

Group Work

Homework will consist of both written and programming assignments. You are encouraged to work on the programming assignments in groups of two, but you must do the written assignments by yourself.

Late Policy

In general, no late assignments are accepted. However, you have two grace days for the entire quarter. That means you can be late by one day for two assignments, or use the two days up for one assignment.


Programming assignments will have specific submission instructions included with the handouts. We will use a certain amount of automatic grading to help us deal with the massive amounts of code everyone submits, so please follow the submission instructions exactly as written!

Written homework should be submitted via Gradiance, as described above. If you have any issues accessing the Gradiance site, please contact the TAs or instructors.

Where are the assignments?

All assignments are posted on the schedule

Honor Code Cheating and Plagiarism is a no-no

You are free to discuss the assignment and solutions with others. However, you must write your own assignment, and must not represent any portion of others' work as your own. Anybody violating the honor code will be referred to the Judical-Affairs Office. If convicted, the normal penalty is a quarter suspension or worse.

The full honor code can be found here