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Computer Systems and Programming (2021 - 2022)

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

Class Timetable

Monday h.09:00/12:00- Aula Alfa

Wednesday h.16:00/18:00 - Aula Alfa

Lectures will be delivered in presence and also live-streamed.

The URL for the lessons, and all other communications related to this course, are sent through the google group CSAP (see below).

Office Hours

By previous appointment, before or after the lessons


>>>Today's Lecture (Oct. 11th) will be on streaming only<<<

The tentative schedule for midterms of AA 2021-2022 is as follows:

  1. Nov. 15th (Basic C programming)
  2. Nov. 29th (System calls related to: file, processes, signals, pipes)
  3. Dec. 20th (Sockets API).
The date/time will be confirmed as soon as possible.

Midterms consist in a C program which has to be developed on your personal pc/workstation, according to the specs I'll give you at the beginning of the test.

The code (complete or not) has to be sent to my email before the deadline.

Please contact me (email) for any question/clarification.

CSAP Google Group

A group has been created in order to allow communication, sharing of information, etc.

The name of the group is CSAP (https://groups.google.com/a/uniroma1.it/d/forum/csap), interested students are invited to join to get access to the folder where code, slides and recordings are located.

N.B. subscriptions from the previous year (AA2020-2021) have been removed. Please subscribe again if interested.

An archive of previous conversations is also available under the CSAP2020-2021 label.

Code Samples & Slides

All samples, slides and recordings are located on gdrive and are acessible to member of the CSAP group (see above).

The google drive contains also the recordings and other samples from previous AA.


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.

This was the project for AA2020/2021 _>> Project2020.pdf

A short video describing the project has been posted on gdrive (see above).


During the course, there will be a number (most likely three) of 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, heap corruption, pointer subterfuge, etc.


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

Pages from Previous AA

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Topic revision: r75 - 2021-10-11 - GiorgioRichelli

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