COMP SCI 2005 - Systems Programming

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2022

Introduction to C for C++ programmers. UNIX tools; design philosophy, command line options, combining programs using pipes and I/O redirection. File systems and memory. Profiling tools, binary tools, debugging tools. Basic shell scripting. Build tools. Signal and handling, synchronous and asynchronous I/O. Introduction to threads and concurrency. Timers and their uses.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code COMP SCI 2005
    Course Systems Programming
    Coordinating Unit Computer Science
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 2.5 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites One of COMP SCI 1102, COMP SCI 1202, COMP SCI 2202, COMP SCI 2009 or COMP SCI 2202B
    Assessment Written exam and/or assignments
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Bernard Evans

    Co-lecturer: Mr Bernard Evans
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Write and debug programs in C;
    2 Write and debug scripts in Bash;
    3 Understand how C programs and Unix-based operating systems interface at a low level;
    4 Understand low level programming constructs such as pipes, threads, interrupts and sockets;
    5 Understand how the Unix command shell processes commands;
    6 Understand how the Unix file system stores information;
    7 Apply the above to solving programming problems.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    All required resources for this course will be provided online via the MyUni platform.
    Recommended Resources
    You can perform all the exercise work required for the course in the University computer Labs. However, if you want to be able to work at home, you could consider installing Linux on your system. Unfortunately, the school cannot offer assistance in doing this. However there are many available methods for obtaining a Linux system including: Clean Install (i.e. Linux only), Dual-Boot (requiring partitions) and Virtual Machines.

    Recommended textbooks:
    - Shells by Example : 4th Edition (By Ellie Quigley)
    - Bash Guide for Beginners. (By Machtelt Garrels)
    - Advanced Bash Scripting Guide. (By Mendel Cooper)
    - Tutorial: programming in C, UNIX system calls and subroutines using C. (By A. D. Marshall)
    Online Learning
    You can find the general information about this course at Specific information about previous years' offerings can be found at
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be taught via a series of lectures (including some demonstration). This course also includes practical workshop sessions where you will be expected to work through a series of problems with the guidance of a workshop supervisor. You will be expected to have attended both lectures and workshops and engage with both.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Students are expected to spend 9-10 hours per week on this course.
    There will be 3-4 hours contact time for learning and teaching activities and students will be working in groups and individually 7-8 hours to carry out the required learning and teaching activities for acquiring the expected knowledge, understanding, and skills in this course.
    Learning Activities Summary
    There is an approximate schedule of the topics that will be covered on the course website.

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Weighting (%) Individual/ Group Formative/ Summative
    Due (week)*
    Hurdle criteria Learning outcomes CBOK Alignment**
    Assignment Practical 1 10 Individual Summative Week 4 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 1.1 1.2 4.1 4.3
    Assignment Practical 2 10 Individual Summative Week 7 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 1.1 1.2 4.1 4.3
    Assignment Practical 3 10 Individual Summative Week 10 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 1.1 1.2 4.1 4.3
    Assignment Practical 4 10 Individual Summative Week 13 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 1.1 1.2 4.1 4.3
    Workshop participation 5 Individual Formative Varies 1.1 1.2
    Online Mini-Exam 10 Individual Summative Week 11 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 1.1 1.2 4.1
    Final Examination 45 Individual Summative min 40% 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 1.1 1.2 4.1
    Total 100
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.
    This assessment breakdown complies with the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy.
    This course has a hurdle requirement. Meeting the specified hurdle criteria is a requirement for passing the course.

    **CBOK is the Core Body of Knowledge for ICT Professionals defined by the Australian Computer Society. The alignment in the table above corresponds with the following CBOK Areas:

    1. Problem Solving
    1.1 Abstraction
    1.2 Design

    2. Professional Knowledge
    2.1 Ethics
    2.2 Professional expectations
    2.3 Teamwork concepts & issues
    2.4 Interpersonal communications
    2.5 Societal issues
    2.6 Understanding of ICT profession

    3. Technology resources
    3.1 Hardware & Software
    3.2 Data & information
    3.3 Networking

    4. Technology Building
    4.1 Programming
    4.2 Human factors
    4.3 Systems development
    4.4 Systems acquisition

    5.  ICT Management
    5.1 IT governance & organisational
    5.2 IT project management
    5.3 Service management 
    5.4 Security management

    Assessment Related Requirements
    To pass the course you must achieve:
    - at least 40% in the exam, and
    - 50% overall to pass the course.

    If your mark for the exam is less than 40% your final mark will be capped at 44F.
    Assessment Detail
    All practical assignments require you to write programs, which will be marked either by an automatic testing script or manually.
    You are strongly encouraged to begin the exercises early, to allow time for seeking help when needed.

    You will find that the test scripts are very good at finding bugs in your programs.
    However, the test scripts do not tell you exactly what was being tested --- they just offer a general hint of where you should look.
    If you submit your exercise at the last minute, and hope to use the automated test script to help you debug your program, you will be seriously disappointed, and will probably end up submitting late.
    You should build your program in small stages, and test it thoroughly.

    The testing regime is like this because, as a programmer, you must learn how to test your own programs.
    Once you graduate, there will be no automatic tester available --- you will need to write your own.

    You are expected to participate in each workshop session. This will involve bringing along answers in preparation and filling in worksheet answers from this preparation. If you have not prepared adequately for your workshop sessions and have not been able to properly address the questions in the worksheets then you will not get the marks for the workshops!
    Details of assignment submission will be on the MyUni course pages. 
    Practical assignments will primarily use the School's web submission system. 
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    You can find the latest SELT survey results on the course website, here:
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.