Spring 2024 Course Descriptions

CS 21-01 Concurrent Programming

M. Sheldon
TR 4:30-5:45p, Room To Be Announced
L+ Block

When we learn to program, we specify problem solutions as a single sequence of computations in a fixed, determined order. But the world isn’t like that. Deer run into the woods, people talk on their phones, it rains. Nothing forces these things to happen one at a time, in a fixed order. They happen concurrently. We want to write concurrent programs, because we want to model the real world, because our computer systems actually have concurrent activities, and also to improve the performance or usability of our programs. The ubiquity of distributed applications and modern, multicore processors makes concurrent programming an essential skill.

This course explores different models of concurrent programming: students will gain competence in conventional shared-memory threads programming, and at least one natively concurrent programming model (actors or CSP). Time permitting, we may look at other models. We’ll look at classic problems (like deadlock) and synchronization mechanisms (semaphores, locks, barriers).

Students will complete a substantial team programming project using these tools and techniques, and they will present their work to the class.

Prerequisite: CS 15, or graduate/postbac standing

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