Important #1: Click to sign up for this class on Piazza!
Important #2: Click to register with Gradiance with class token F560814C.

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.
  • Programming assignments analyze Java code.
  • Problem sessions for discussion.
  • Piazza for offline questions.
  • Midterm and Final.

Logistics When, where, what and how

Lectures Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:00pm - 4:20pm in Gates B01
Problem Session Friday 1:30pm - 2:20pm in Gates B03
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 11 in Gates B01
Final March 15 (Tuesday) 7:00pm-10:00pm in Gates B01

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 instructor/TAs 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

Assignments 55%
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.

Monica Lam, Instructor

Office Gates 307
Office Hours By arrangement via
Contact Details

Megan Harris, Admin

Office Gates 479
Phone (650) 723-1658

How are office hours structured?

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

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

Neeral Dodhia, TA

Office B26A
Office Hours Wed 4:30-6 pm
Thur 9-10:30 am
Contact Details

Rakesh Ramesh, TA

Office B21
Office Hours Mon 6-7:30 pm
Fri 4:30-6 pm
Contact Details

Tentative Schedule Subject to change

Date Topic Reading Lecture notes Assignment out Assignment due
Jan 5 [Tue]Introduction1.1-5, 8.4, 8.5, 9.1Lecture 1 Handout, Slides, Example
Jan 7 [Thu]Dataflow Analysis Introduction9.2Lecture 2 Handout, Slides
Jan 12 [Tue]Dataflow Analysis Foundation9.3Lecture 3 Handout, SlidesHW1 (Solution)Jan 19
Jan 14 [Thu]Constant Propagation, Loops9.4, 9.6Lecture 4 Handout, SlidesReview Session
Jan 19 [Tue]JoeQ FrameworkJoeQ HandoutHW2Jan 29
Jan 21 [Thu]Partial Redundancy Elimination9.5Lecture 5 Handout, SlidesReview SessionNotes
Jan 26 [Tue]Register Allocation8.8Lecture 6 Handout, SlidesHW3 (Solution)Feb 4
Jan 28 [Thu]Instruction Scheduling10.1-10.4Lecture 7 Handout, SlidesReview Session Notes
Feb 2 [Tue]Software Pipelining10.5Lecture 8 Handout, SlidesSample Midterm (Solution)
Feb 4 [Thu]Software Pipelining10.5HW4Feb 18
Feb 9 [Tue]Dynamic CompilationLecture 9 Handout, Slides
Feb 11 [Thu]MidtermMidterm (Solution)
Feb 16 [Tue]Pointer Analysis12Lecture 10 Handout
Feb 18 [Thu]BDDs in Pointer Analysis
A Datalog-based query language for graph analysis
SociaLite (optional)
Lecture 11 Handout
Socialite Handout
HW5 (Solution)Feb 25
Feb 23 [Tue]A Language for the Personal Internet of ThingsThingTalk Handout
Feb 25 [Thu]Data Dependence Analysis11.1-11.1.4, 11.6Lecture 12 Handout, SlidesHW6March 8
Mar 1 [Tue]Loop Transformations11.10-11.11Lecture 13 Handout, Slides
Mar 3 [Thu]An Image Processing LanguageHalide SlidesHW7 (Solutions)
Mar 8 [Tue]Garbage Collection7.4, 7.5, 7.6Lecture 14 Handout, Slides
Mar 10 [Thu]Advanced Garbage Collection7.7, 7.8Lecture 15 Handout, Slides
Mar 15 [Tue]Final (7:00 pm - 10:00 pm)Sample Finals: 2014, 2013

Problem Sessions Friday 1:30pm - 2:20pm at Gates B03

Date Problem Session
Feb 5 Selected problems for midterm practice
Feb 12 Section on Homework 4
Feb 19 Section on BDDBDDB
Feb 26 Section on Homework 6
Mar 04 Loop Transformations examples

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" F560814C.

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!

Some of the written homework should be submitted via Gradiance, as described above. If you have any issues accessing the Gradiance site, please contact the TAs.

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

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