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Computer Systems and Programming (2019 - 2020)

Teacher: Giorgio Richelli - giorgio.richelli@uniroma1.it


Monday h.14:00/16:00 - Aula 303 (CU002, 3rd floor)

Friday h.8:00/11:00 - Aula 2L (RM018)

Office Hours

By previous appointment, before or after the lessons


To experiment a little bit with the IPC API seen up to now you can try this homework: Here

Also, the third midterm from last year (2018) could be useful as a reference for the next (Dec.6th): Here

Tentative agenda for midterms:

  • Monday Nov. 4th: C Language (quizzes). The questions (with answers): AllQuestions , and the results: Score
  • Friday Nov 22nd: Filesystem API, Process Management, Processes The text of the Midterm Text and the results: Score
  • Friday Dec. 6th: Signals, IPC (pipes, semaphores, shared memory ..).
  • Friday Dec. 20th: Sockets, global recap.

Code Samples & Slides

Friday Nov. 15th: Signals, Pipes, Named Pipes: IPC1

Monday Nov. 11th: Processes --> Here

Friday Nov. 8th: The filesystem API: Here

Monday Oct. 28th: Examples --> 28Ottobre.txt

Friday Oct. 25th: Examples --> 25Ottobre.txt

Monday Oct. 21st: Code examples --> 21Ottobre.txt

Friday Oct. 18th: Code examples: --> file.txt

Mon. Oct. 14th: Complex function prototype and code snippets on switch, loops, etc. --> Examples.txt


The course is mainly focused on system programming for Unix (Linux) systems.

The objective is to make students able to understand, write and modify, programs interfacing with the Linux operating system and its kernel source code.

So, it is assumed that attendees are able to write programs (using some language) and have a basic kwowledge of the main components of a modern operating system, such as Linux.

Each student should have access to a Linux system (a VM is ok), including the compiler, development tools (make, debugger, etc) and man pages.

Working on other devices, such as Mac or Windows laptop, while possible, it is not recommended due to suble differences in the compiler suite and OS interface.


The evaluation will be carried out, during the course, through tests quizzes on C and with short programs developed by the students in the classroom.

At the end of the course, the students will be able to accept the result obtained with these tests and verbalize, perhaps after an oral discussion.

As an alternative, or if the result of the tests is not considered acceptable, a complete individual project, written in C, should be developed on topics pertaining the arguments seen during the course.

Thus, there are two options:

  • Pass the midterms (plus, perhaps, an oral discussion)
  • Complete the project (as described in the dedicated section). The project (sources and documentation) must be sent by email a few days (5-7) before the date of the exam.
Write/contact me for any doubts, information, etc.


The project is an individual work item, which must include appropriate documentation (Use cases, functional and non functional requirements, etc).

Each academic year will have a different project.

Project for AA2019/2020 will be published around mid-december.

Here is the description of the project for AA2018/2019 --> Project2018.pdf

Test Midterm

During the course, there will be a number (three or perhaps four) tests, in order to check the knowledge acquired during the lessons.

The score obtained for the tests will be part of the final evaluation and could completely substitute the project (see the above section).


These are the topics that are planned to be described during the course.Of course mileage may vary, depending on time available, etc.

  • Programming environment: compiler, make & makefiles, gdb debugger
  • Recap of the C programming language: variables, costants, operators, expressions, control instructions, functions, pointers, arrays, structures & unions, preprocessor directives
  • Operating system basics (Linux): processes, filesystem, inter-process communication primitives (signals, pipes, semaphores, shared memory)
  • Thread programming: pthread management, mutual exclusion, synchronization
  • Network programming: sockets, raw sockets, sniffers
  • Software vulnerabilities: buffer overflows, arc injection, file infection


  • Daniel P. Bovet, Marco Cesati: Understanding the Linux Kernel
  • Brian Kernighan, Dennis Ritchie: The C Programming Language (2nd Ed.)

Slides & sources (C) used during the past year (AA 2018-2019)

C course --> here (Look for COP 2220)

Tools (make, gdb, prof, ..) tools.pdf

Slides and souces used during the lessons


System call:

Reading a file, (different approaches): Linked List: List.c

Binary Search Tree: Tree.c

Reading a file into a dynamic array and sort it: bubbleSort.c

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Topic revision: r48 - 2019-11-30 - GiorgioRichelli

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