1. Due Date

Due by 11:59 pm, Thursday, February 23, 2023

This lab should be done with your Lab 4 partner, listed here: Lab 4 partners

Our guidelines for working with partners: working with partners, etiquette and expectations

2. Lab Overview and Goals

This lab consists of 2 parts. In the first part you will implement a C program that computes some statistics on a set of values read in from a file. The program will use C pointers and dynamic memory allocation to allocate enough space for the set of values it reads in from an input file. In the second part you will write a sum function in IA32 assembly that is compiled into a program that you can then use test your function.

2.1. Lab Goals

  • Gain experience using pointers and dynamic memory allocation (malloc) in C.

  • Practice using gdb and valgrind to debug programs.

  • Practice converting C code with conditionals and loops to equivalent IA32 assembly code.

3. Starting Point Code

3.1. Getting Your Lab Repo

Both you and your partner should clone your Lab 4 repo into your cs31/labs subdirectory:

  1. get your Lab 4 ssh-URL from the CS31 git org. The repository to clone is named Lab4-userID1-userID2 where the two user names match that of you and your Lab 4 lab partner.

  2. cd into your cs31/labs subdirectory:

    $ cd ~/cs31/labs
    $ pwd
  3. clone your repo

    $ git clone [the ssh url to your your repo]
    $ cd Lab4-userID1-userID2

There are more detailed instructions about getting your lab repo from the "Getting Lab Starting Point Code" section of the Using Git for CS31 Labs page.

As your start each lab assignment, it is good to first test that you and your partner have both successfully cloned your shared repo, and that you can share code by pushing a small change and by pulling a small change made by your partner. Follow the directions in the "Sharing Code with your Lab Partner" section of the Using Git for CS31 Labs page.

3.2. Starting Point files

$ ls
Makefile   large.txt   prog.c      readfile.h  stats.c
README.md  larger.txt  readfile.c  small.txt   sum.s
  1. Makefile: A Makefile simplifies the process of compiling your program. We’ll look at these in more detail later in the course. You’re welcome to look over this one, but you shouldn’t need to edit it for this lab. If you are interested, take a look at Section 8 for more information about make and makefiles. make builds the stats program for Part 1 and prog for Part 2 of this lab assignment.

  2. readfile.h and readfile.c: a library for file I/O. This is the same library used in Lab 1. Your program will make calls to functions in this library to read values from an input file. The instructions for using this library are explained below. Do not modify any code in these two files.

  3. stats.c: starting point code for the C stats program. It contains some code to get the file name from the command line argument and the start of the get_values function that you will complete. your solution should be implemented in this file.

  4. small.txt, large.txt, …​: some example input files to use to test your stats program. You will want to create your own additional input files to more extensively test your program before you consider it finished.

  1. prog.c: a main program for Part 2. You do not need to modify this program.

  2. sum.s: starting point code for Part 2. Your Part 2 solution should be implemented in this file.

4. Part 1: Dynamic Memory Allocation

4.1. Compiling and Running

You will implement the program started in stats.c that takes a single command line argument, which is the name of a file of data values (floats, one per line), and computes and prints out a set of statistics about the data values:

$ ./stats small.txt
num values:         16
       min:      0.500
       max:      3.000
      mean:      1.812
    median:      2.000
   std dev:      1.031
unused array capacity: 4

Run make to compile the stats program. Make compiles your solution in the stats.c file, and also compiles and links in the readfile.o library, and links in the C math library (-lm). The math library has a sqrt function, which you will need for the standard deviation calculations.

$ make

Then run with some input file as a command line argument, for example:

$ ./stats small.txt

$ ./stats large.txt

4.2. Sample Output

The following shows an example of what a run of a complete stats program looks like for a particular input file specified at the command line: Sample Output

Note: you should test your implementation on multiple input files, and create your own to test certain cases.

4.3. Lab Details

Experimental scientists often want to compute some simple statistical analyses over the set of data. A useful tool would be a program that could compute these statistical results for any an arbitrarily sized data set (i.e. it would work for 10 or for 10 million data values without re-compilation); this is a good example of where using dynamic allocation makes your program more generic than a program using statically declared arrays.

When run, your program should do the following:

  1. Make a call to get_values, passing in the filename of the file containing the data values, and passing in two pointers: the address of an int variable to store the size of the array (number of values read in) and the address of an int variable to store the total array capacity. This function is started for you. See the Requirements Section for details on how to allocate the array that this function returns.

  2. The get_values function will return an array of float values that stores the values read in from the file, or NULL on error (e.g., malloc() fails or the file cannot be opened). NOTE: at this step you could add a debugging call to a printArray function to print out the values you read in to check that it is okay (remove this output from your final submission if you do).

  3. Sort the array of values. (see the note in Tips section about re-using your sorting function from Lab 1). NOTE: at this step you could add a debugging call to a printArray function to print out the values after your sort call to debug your sort (remove this output from your final submission if you do).

  4. Compute the min, max, mean (average), median, and standard deviation of the set of values and print them out. (see notes below about median)

  5. Print out the statistical results, plus information about the number of values in the data set and the amount of unused capacity in the array storing the values.

The statistics your program to compute on the set of values are the following:

  1. num values: total number of values in the data set.

  2. min: the smallest value in the data set.

  3. max: the largest value in the data set.

  4. mean: the average of the set of values. For example, if the set is: 5, 6, 4, 2, 7, the mean is 4.8 (24.0/5).

  5. median: the middle value in the set of values. For example, if the set of values read in is: 5, 6, 4, 2, 7, the median value is 5 (2 and 4 are smaller and 6 and 7 are larger). If the total number of values is even, just use the (total/2) value as the median. For example, for the set of 4 values (2, 5, 6, 7), the median value is 6 because 4/2 is 2 and the value in position 2 of the sorted ordering of these values is 6 (2 is in position 0, 5 in position 1, 6 in position 2, 7 in position 3).

  6. stddev: is given by the following formula:

    \[s=\sqrt{\frac{1}{N-1} \sum_{i=1}^N(x_i - \overline{x})^2}\]

    Where \(N\) is the number of data values, \(x_i\) is the \(i\)th data value, and \(\overline{x}\) is the mean of the values.

  7. unused array capacity: this is really a statistic about the amount of the total capacity of your array that is not used to store this set of values.

4.4. File Format and File I/O

Your program will take as a command line argument the name of an input file that contains the data set. Each files contains some number of float values, one per line. The total number can vary from input file to input file, so it is up to your program to determine when it has read in all the values.

For example, a file with 4 values might look like this:


Included with the starting point code are a few sample input files (ex. small.txt, large.txt) that you can use to run and test your program.

You will use the readfile library (that you also used in Lab 1) for doing file I/O. Documentation about library functions and how to use the library is in the library header file (readfile.h), which you can open in vim to view. You should not change any code in readfile.c or readfile.h.

4.5. Lab Requirements

For full credit, your solution should meet the following requirements:

  • Implement your solution in stats.c, which includes some starting point code.

  • The get_values function: takes the name of a file containing input values, reads in values from the file into a dynamically allocated array, and returns the dynamically allocated array to the caller. The array’s size and capacity are "returned" to the caller through pass-by-pointer parameters:

    float *get_values(int *size, int *capacity, char *filename);
    • The array of values must be dynamically allocated on the heap by calling malloc. You must start out allocating an array of 20 float values. As you read in values into the current array, if you run out of capacity:

      1. Call malloc to allocate space for a new array that is twice the size of the current full one.

      2. Copy values from the old full array to the new array (and make the new array the current one).

      3. Free the space allocated by the old array by calling free.

    There are other ways to do this type of alloc and re-alloc in C. However, this is the way we want you to do it for this assignment: make sure you start out with a dynamically allocated array of 20 floats, then each time it fills up, allocate a new array of twice the current size, copy values from the old to new, and free the old.
    • When all of the data values have been read in from the file, the function should return the filled, dynamically allocated, array to the caller (the function’s return type is (float *). The array’s size and total capacity are "returned" to the caller through the pass-by-pointer parameters size and capacity.

  • After reading in the values from the file, your program should sort the array (and note that your program should be able to easily compute min, max and median on a sorted array of values). See the Tips section about how to re-use your sort function from the Lab 1.

  • For full credit, your program must be free of valgrind errors. Do not forget to close the file you opened! If you don’t, valgrind will likely report a memory leak.

  • Your code should be commented, modular, robust, and use meaningful variable and function names. This includes having a top-level comment describing your program and listing your and your partner’s names and the date. In addition, every function should include a brief description of its behavior. You may not use any global variables for this assignment.

  • It should be evident that you applied top-down design when constructing your submission (e.g., there are multiple functions, each with a specific, documented role). You should have at least 4 function-worthy functions.

  • You should not assume that we will test your code with the sample input files that have been provided.

  • When run, your program’s output should look like the output shown below from a run of a working program. To make my job of grading easier, please make your output match the example as closely as possible.

    $ ./stats large.txt
    num values:         94
           min:      0.333
           max:      3.000
          mean:      1.161
        median:      1.000
       std dev:      0.788
    unused array capacity: 66

    Note: just like you can use \n in the printf format string to insert a new line, you can use \t to insert a tab character for pretty formatting. Also, you can specify formatting of each placeholder in the printf string. For example, use %10.3f to specific printing a float/double value in a field with of 10 with 3 places after the decimal point. Section 2.8 of the textbook has more information about formatting printf placeholders.

  • For increased precision, use the C double type to store and compute the mean and the square root.

  • Your code should be commented, modular, robust, and use meaningful variable and function names. Each function should include a brief description of its behavior. Look at the C code style guide for examples of complete comments, tips on how not to wrap lines, good indenting styles and suggestions for meaningful variable and function names in your program.

  • Code you submit should have "TODO" comments removed (these are our notes to you, as you implement them remove the "TODO").

4.6. Tips and Hints

  • Before even starting to write code, use top-down design to break your program into manageable functionality.

  • Try getting get_values to work without the re-allocation and copying part first (for fewer than 20 values). Once that works, then go back and get it to work for larger numbers of input values that require mallocing up new heap space, copying the old values to the new larger space, and freeing up the old space.

  • Sort function: You can use your sort function from Lab 1 in this program. To do so, just copy your sort function from the previous lab’s .c file into this file, and then change the array parameter to a pointer to float. And that is it — you can use the same sort function to sort the dynamically allocated array!

    // change the prototype and function definition of your sorting function
    // so that its first parameter is float *values
    void sort(float *values, int size);
  • You can copy over your printArray function from your Lab 1 solution and use it to help you debug (note: you likely don’t want to do this with large files, but you can create some smaller input files on which to test with printing out array contents). Be sure to remove or comment out calls to printArray in your submitted program if you do this (this is just debugging output).

    1. reading in values from the file. cat small.txt to list values in the file, the after reading them in, add a debug call to your printArray function to print out the values read in (they should match).

    2. sorting the values read in. Call printArray after your sort to check the sorted order.

  • The C math library has a function to compute square root: double sqrt(double val). You can pass sqrt a float value and C will automatically convert the float value to a double.

  • See the Lab 1 lab assignment for documentation about using the readfile library (and also look at the readfile.h comments for how to use its functions).

  • Take a look at the textbook, weekly lab code and in-class exercises to remind yourself about malloc, free, pointer variables, dereferencing pointer variables, dynamically allocated arrays, and passing pointers to functions.

  • Use Ctrl-C to kill a running program stuck in an infinite loop.

5. Part 2: IA32 Programming

In this part of the assignment, you will write a sum function in IA32 assembly that is compiled into a program (prog) that you can use test your sum function.

5.1. Compiling and Running

The files for this part are:

  • The sum.s file contains the starting point IA32 code for the sum function that you will complete for Part 2. Your Part 2 solution should be implemented in this file.

  • prog.c: a main program for testing your sum implementation, You do not need to modify this program.

The Makefile is set up to compile both the IA32 sum.s and prog.c files into an executable named prog that you can use to run and test your IA32 implementation of the sum.s.

$ make     # compiles prog from sum.s and prog.c
$ ./prog

When run, the prog reads in user input for the value n, that is passed as a parameter to your sum function, and then prints out the result (you can see this main control flow in the prog.c file’s main function, which you do not need to modify):

$ ./prog
This program computes the sum of 1-N
Enter an value for n: 10
The sum of 1 to 10 is 55

5.2. Sample Output

The following shows some example output of a couple runs of prog that makes calls to your IA32 version of the sum function (in sum.s): Sample Output

5.3. Details

For this part, you will implement a sum function in IA32. You should implement your program in sum.s, which has a starting point of this function.

In sum.s is the starting point of an IA32 sum function. The starting point handles the stack set-up and function return. As a result, you just need to implement the IA32 translation of the function body. See the comments in sum.s about where on the stack is space for local variables, and where the parameter n is located.

The C function you will implement in IA32 is:

/* computes the sum of the values 1-n
 * n: an int value
 * returns: the sum of values from 1-n, or -1 if n is not positive
int sum(int n) {

  int i, res;

  if( n <= 0 ) {
     return -1;
  res = 0;
  for(i=1; i <= n; i++) {
    res = res + i;
  return res;

The program prog.c makes a call to this sum function (you do not need to modify prog.c, but you can open it in vim to see what it is doing).

5.4. Requirements

  • Your IA32 implementation of the sum function should be added to sum.s starting point file.

  • You do not need to edit prog.c, but looking at it in vim might help you understand how your sum function is being called.

  • Your solution must include a loop. It is well known that the sum of the first n positive integers is n*(n+1)/2, but you can not use that in your answer.

5.5. Tips

  • Write C-goto versions of sum function, the if and for loop parts in particular, to help you with the translations of those parts.

  • Try adding a little bit of IA32 code to sum.s at a time, then compile and test it out by running prog, and add some more. Parts that you test out do not even have to be parts of the solution, but testing if you can perform some of the steps like returning some value, and initializing a local variable. For example:

    1. first see if you can just return the value of n.

    2. next, see if you can initialize res to 0 and return the value of res.

    3. next, try the if stmt, and test passing positive and negative values to see if your function returns -1 when n is not positive.

    4. then try implementing the for loop.

  • If you have errors, trace through the instruction’s on paper drawing memory contents and register contents as you go.

  • Use Ctrl-C to kill a running program stuck in an infinite loop.

6. Survey

Once you have submitted the final version of your entire lab, you should submit the required Lab 4 Questionnaire (each lab partner must do this). Note that the survey should be turned in after your lab is turned in, therefore the deadline for the survey is deliberately left vague. You should submit it, but if it’s a bit later than the deadline for the actual lab (even by a day or two), that’s completely fine.

7. Submitting your Lab

Please remove any debugging output prior to submitting.

To submit your code, commit your changes locally using git add and git commit. Then run git push while in your lab directory. Only one partner needs to run the final git push, but make sure both partners have pulled and merged each others changes.

Also, it is good practice to run make clean before doing a git add and commit: you do not want to add to the repo any files that are built by gcc (e.g. executable files). Included in your lab git repo is a .gitignore file telling git to ignore these files, so you likely won’t add these types of files by accident. However, if you have other gcc generated binaries in your repo, please be careful about this.

Here are the commands to submit your solution in the sorter.c file (from one of you or your partner’s ~/cs31/labs/Lab4-userID1-userID2 subdirectory):

$ make clean
$ git add stats.c
$ git add sum.s
$ git commit -m "correct and well commented Lab4 solution"
$ git push

Verify that the results appear (e.g., by viewing the the repository on CS31-S23). You will receive deductions for submitting code that does not run or repos with merge conflicts. Also note that the time stamp of your final submission is used to verify you submitted by the due date, or by the number of late days that you used on this lab, so please do not update your repo after you submit your final version for grading.

If you have difficulty pushing your changes, see the "Troubleshooting" section and "can’t push" sections at the end of the Using Git for CS31 Labs page. And for more information and help with using git, see the git help page.

8. Handy References