CS 220 Parallel Computing

Course Syllabus – CS 220: Introduction to Parallel Computing

MWF 3:30 – 4:35 pm, HR 148

Instructor: Matthew Malensek
Office: HR416
Hours: MF 10-11am, Th 1-2pm
Email: mmalensek@usfca.edu
Phone: (415) 422-4756

Teaching Assistant:
Ivy An
Hours: W 1-3pm
Email: ran3@dons.usfca.edu


CS 110 (grade of B or better) and permission of instructor or CS 112 (grade of C or better).

Required Texts/Materials

Course Overview

As multi-core and multi-processor computing hardware continues to proliferate, it is vital to have an understanding of how these systems work to build efficient software. This requires knowledge of how hardware works at a lower level, parallel programming constructs, cache hierarchies, and debugging strategies. This course provides an introduction to programming in C as well as these parallel programming concepts.

Learning Outcomes

In this course, we will learn:


The course will be graded on an A-F basis. The grade distribution is:

Grades will be assigned as follows:

100 – 93A
92 – 90A-
89 – 87B+
86 – 83B
82 – 80B-
79 – 77C+
76 – 73C
72 – 70C-
69 – 67D+
66 – 63D
62 – 60D-
59 – 0F

This scale is subject to change; scoring in the ranges above guarantees you will receive at least the grade listed.


Grading: Assignments will be graded on the CS department Linux machines. If you develop your programs on your personal computer, you must check to make sure they work on the department machines. If your code does not compile on the CS department machines, you may receive a 0 for the assignment.

Homework: Homework assignments provide an opportunity to practice what we’ve covered in class. The assignments are due at 11:59pm on the due date and must be submitted via GitHub. Late homework is not accepted.

Projects: Complete, documented copies of your project source code and any accompanying files should be submitted via GitHub by 11:59pm on the due date. Late projects are penalized 10% per day, for a maximum of three days (no credit thereafter).

Exams and Midterms: Midterms will be given throughout the semester to review concepts we’ve learned in class. There will also be a comprehensive final exam.

Important Dates

Academic Integrity

As a Jesuit institution committed to cura personalis — the care and education of the whole person — USF has an obligation to embody and foster the values of honesty and integrity. USF upholds the standards of honesty and integrity from all members of the academic community. All students are expected to know and adhere to the University’s Honor Code. You can find the full text of the code online at http://myusf.usfca.edu/academic-integrity/. The policy covers:

Students with Disabilities

If you are a student with a disability or disabling condition, or if you think you may have a disability, please contact USF Student Disability Services (SDS) at 415 422-2613 within the first week of class, or immediately upon onset of disability, to speak with a disability specialist. 

If you are determined eligible for reasonable accommodations, please meet with your disability specialist so they can arrange to have your accommodation letter sent to me, and we will discuss your needs for this course.  For more information, please visit: http://www.usfca.edu/sds or call (415) 422-2613.

Behavioral Expectations

All students are expected to behave in accordance with the Student Conduct Code and other University policies (see http://www.usfca.edu/fogcutter/). Open discussion and disagreement is encouraged when done respectfully and in the spirit of academic discourse. There are also a variety of behaviors that, while not against a specific University policy, may create disruption in this course. Students whose behavior is disruptive or who fail to comply with the instructor may be dismissed from the class for the remainder of the class period and may need to meet with the instructor or Dean prior to returning to the next class period. If necessary, referrals may also be made to the Student Conduct process for violations of the Student Conduct Code. 

Learning, Writing, and Speaking Centers

The Learning, Writing, and Speaking Centers at USF provide individualized support to assist you in better understanding course material and to aid you on your path to success. Services are free and include one-on-one tutoring, group tutoring, and one-on-one Academic Skills Coaching appointments to discuss effective study strategies. The Learning Center supports over 80 courses each semester. The Writing Center helps students develop their writing skills in rhetoric, organization, style, and structure, through one-on-one interactive conferences. The Speaking Center helps students prepare for public speaking – including speeches, oral presentations, team presentations, and visual aid demonstrations. International students may also contact us to learn more about communicating with professors and general academic study skills. The Learning, Writing, and Speaking Centers are located on the Lower Level of Gleeson Library. Please contact them at 415-422-6713 for further assistance or visit https://myusf.usfca.edu/student-life/lwc to make an appointment.

Counseling and Psychological Services

Our diverse staff offers brief individual, couple, and group counseling to student members of our community. CAPS services are confidential and free of charge. Call 415-422-6352 for an initial consultation appointment. Having a crisis at 3 AM? We are still here for you. Telephone consultation through CAPS After Hours is available between the hours of 5:00 PM to 8:30 AM; call the above number and press 2.

Confidentiality, Mandatory Reporting, and Sexual Assault

As an instructor, one of my responsibilities is to help create a safe learning environment on our campus. I also have a mandatory reporting responsibility related to my role as a faculty member. I am required to share information regarding sexual misconduct or information about a crime that may have occurred on USFs campus with the University. Here are other resources:

Student Accounts – Last day to withdraw with tuition reversal

Students who wish to have the tuition charges reversed on their student account should withdraw from the course(s) by the end of the business day on the last day to withdraw with tuition credit (census date) for the applicable course(s) in which the student is enrolled. Please note that the last day to withdraw with tuition credit may vary by course. The last day to withdraw with tuition credit (census date) listed in the Academic Calendar is applicable only to courses which meet for the standard 15-week semester. To find what the last day to withdraw with tuition credit is for a specific course, please visit the Online Class Schedule at www.usfca.edu/schedules.