This is an accelerated introduction to the C (not C++) Programming Language designed for students with prior programming experience. C is in many ways the lingua franca of computing, and a broad range of programming languages and related technologies derive from the basic principles of C memory management, control flow, and abstraction. Though there are many subtleties, C is not a big language, and it is expected that students will leave the course with a relatively deep understanding of the key concepts, which will then form a solid foundation for studying higher-level technologies. At the same time, C itself remains a very practical language, particularly so in areas such as scientific programming, high-performance computing, application level library design, systems programming, network programming, multi-threaded programming, etc. Students who successfully complete the course will be well prepared for subsequent MPCS courses in these areas. The course studies both fundamental and advanced C language constructs in the abstract and reinforces them through a range of exercises in the design of basic and advanced data structures, rudimentary algorithms, and API design.
The course teaches the latest C standard (C11 or ISO/IEC 9899:2011).
- Tutorial Introduction; Types, Control Flow, Functions and Program structure
- Build tools, preprocessor, compiling and linking.
- Unit testing
- Pointers and Arrays
- Pointers and Array, Part II; Recursion
- Structures, Unions, Bit-Fields, Typedef
- Data structures: linked lists, stacks, queues, sets, hash tables, trees, heaps
- Algorithms: coding classical sorting and searching algorithms, algorithmic analysis
- Multicore Programming: threads & synhronization
- The information listed here is the intended course content and format. The instructor reserves the right to adjust the content and format based on class progress, experience and class preference.
- A version control system (git) will be used for distribution of materials and for handing in assignments.
- Bringing a laptop to class is encouraged but not required.
- All assignments will be compiled and graded on the MPCS linux servers (linux.cs.uchicago.edu); Basic familiarity with unix/linux is assumed.
- This is a mostly hands-on course. Plan for a non-trivial amount of time to work on the programming homeworks. Homeworks focus on gaining practical programming experience.
- Kernhigan and Ritchie, "C Programming, second edition" ISBN: 131103628 (K&R)
- Loudon, "Mastering Algorithms with C" ISBN: 1565924533 (MA)
- Prinz and Crawford, "C in a Nutshell" ISBN: 0596006977 (CN) (optional)
- Harbison and Steele, "C: A reference manual" ISBN: 013089592X (optional)