Module Identifier CS23710  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Mark B Ratcliffe  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Mr David E Price, Mr Peter Hoskins, Mr Richard C Shipman  
Pre-Requisite CS22210  
Co-Requisite CS21120  
Course delivery Lecture   Up to 22 lectures  
  Other   Workshop. Up to 2 sessions  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Course Work: Four pieces  100%
Supplementary Exam Will take the same form, under the terms of the Department's policy   
Further details  

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module a student should:

Brief description

The main objectives of this course are to teach the basic features of the C programming language, the structure of the UNIX operating system and the UNIX programming interface.

The facilities of C will be introduced by comparison with those of Java, the emphasis being on the rationale behind the language design decisions for the two programming languages. Emphasis will also be placed on C programming incorporating good modular design, readability, portability, and use of appropriate tools.

The second part of the course will address the structure of the UNIX operating system and the interface presented by functions and system calls for use from C.

The module will also consider the relevance of standards, both in C and in UNIX.


The aim of this course is to teach the student the fundamentals of the C language. In order to compare the facilities and underlying philosophy of C with that of Java, the first part of the course will draw on the material that is covered in CS21120.

The UNIX operating system is studied as an example of the operating systems material covered in CS22210 and also as an application of the C language.


1. Basic Concepts - 1 Lecture
History of the C language, philosophical differences between C language design and Java. ANSI C. Basic form of a C program compared with that of a Java program. Using the compiler.

2. Control Structures - 2 Lectures
Sequence, branching and iteration in C compared with that of Java.

3. Basic Data Structures - 1 Lecture
Review of basic data types and operators in C.

4. Functions - 1 Lecture
Discussion of ways in which functions are implemented, and used in C, including parameter passing mechanisms.

5. Composite Data Structures - 1 Lecture
A first discussion of Arrays in C. Input/Output.

6. Software Support Tools - 1 Lecture
Make, Lint, Debuggers. Libraries and library utilities. Static/Dynamic analysers.

7. C Programming Style and Portability - 1 Lecture
Language standards. Portability. Programming standards.

8. Arrays, Pointers and Functions - 2 Lectures
A discussion of pointer data types, how they relate to arrays, and how they contrast with Java objects.

9. Dynamic Data Structures - 2 Lectures
Implementation of various record structures and dynamic structures. Pointers. Malloc. Examples in C. Parallels will be drawn with how the internals of Java do this for you.

10. Pitfalls - 1 Lecture
Major problem areas. Design rationale of C and of Java in problem areas.

11. Further Features - 1 Lecture
C preprocessor, header files, conditional inclusion, macro substitution, bitwise operators, casts, enumeration, scope, static and external declarations, separate compilation.

12. The Structure of UNIX - 3 Lectures
An overview of the structure of the UNIX operating system and a description of the major components, including: the kernel, device drivers, IEEE POSIX and the terminal. An introduction to the programming interface to UNIX.

13. The Filesystem and Files - 2 Lectures
The structure of the filesystem and associated operations. The types of file and the operations on files.

14. Process Management - 3 Lectures
The manipulation of processes and interprocess communication.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
A. Kelley and I. Pohl (1998) A Book on C: programming in C 4th Ed. Addison Wesley Longman ISBN 0201183994
K. Haviland, D. Gray and B. Salama (1998) UNIX Systems Programming 2nd Ed.. Addison-Wesley ISBN 0201877589
** Consult For Futher Information
L. Ammeraal (1991) C for Programmers Wiley
B.W. Kernighan and D. Ritchie (1988) The C Programming Language - 2nd Edition Prentice Hall
Andrew Koenig (1988) C - Traps and Pitfalls Addison Wesley
C. Brown (1994) UNIX Distributed Programming Addison Wesley

Technical Reports
L.W. Cannon (1990) Indian Hill C Style and Coding Standards University of Toronto


This module is at CQFW Level 5