CS 598 - Concurrent Programming

Summer 2003

There is a rather large body of sad experience to indicate that a concurrent program can withstand very careful scrutiny without revealing its errors.

--- Susan Owicki and Leslie Lamport
Proving Liveness Properties of Concurrent Programs
ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems, July 1982

Table of Contents

Seminar Description

This is a graduate seminar in concurrent programming.

The prerequisites for this graduate seminar are CS 520 and a working knowledge of Java. The seminar covers the concurrency parts of Java; you should already be familiar with Java's sequential parts. There will be programming; you should have a good knowledge of programming, data structures, and algorithms.

The seminar is divided into six two-week sections. See the syllabus for details.

The seminar meets in Howard Hall B-1 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. There will be class on Thursday, 3 July. The last day to withdraw is Wednesday, 23 July.


This seminar is an introduction to intra-process concurrent programming with an emphasis on concepts and methods. At the end of the seminar you should know



There will be six programming assignments, one assignment for each of the six sections; see the syllabus for the schedule.

Each programming assignment will be made available on the syllabus at the start of the associated section. Programming assignments are due two weeks from the day the assignment is issued. My version of the programming assignment will be made available on the syllabus after all the assignments have been received.

The final grade is a straight average of programming assignment grades; each programming assignment grade contributes one-sixth of your final grade.

The usual grade ranges are in effect:

95 <=A
90 <=A-< 95
86.6<=B+< 90
83.3<=B < 86.6
80 <=B-< 83.3
76.6<=C+< 80
73.3<=C < 76.6
70 <=C-< 73.3
F < 70
All grades are kept with one digit of precision to the right of the decimal point and 0.05 rounded up. No grades are adjusted to a curve; that means, for example, that 89.9 is always a B+, never an A-.



There are two textbooks for this seminar, both required.

  1. Foundations of Multithreaded, Parallel, and Distributed Programming by Greg Andrews Addison Wesley, 2000. An errata is available off Andrew's web page for the book.

  2. Concurrent Programming in Java: Design Principles and Patterns, second edition, by Doug Lea; Addison Wesley, 1999. An errata is available off Lea's web page for the book.


You should feel free to send me e-mail. Unless I warn you beforehand, I'll usually respond within a couple of hours during the usual work days; if I don't respond within a day, resend the message.

Mail relevant to the seminar will be stored in a hyper-mail archive. If your message is of general interest to the seminar, I'll store it, suitably stripped of identification and along with my answer, in the archive.

Home page

If you're reading this on paper, you can find the home page at http://www.monmouth.edu/rclayton/web-pages/u03-598/index.html. I'll make the notes and assignments available off the syllabus; you should get in the habit of checking the home page and syllabus regularly.



People who need assistance or accommodations above and beyond what is usually provided in class should contact the University's ADA/504 coordinator to get those needs met. See me or the Disability Services page for more details.


I have no class attendance policy; you may attend class or not as you see fit. However, I hold you responsible for knowing everything that goes on in class; "I wasn't in class for that." is not an acceptable excuse for a wrong answer, or for giving no answer at all.

My attendance policy applies only to lecture attendance; it does not apply to other kinds of attendance which may be required for the course. Repeated failures to meet the attendance expectations set for tests, meetings, projects, labs or other forms of course work will have a bad influence on your grade.


I deal with suspected cheating by failing first and asking questions later. Although cheating has many forms, I generally consider cheating to be any attempt to claim someone else's work as your own; also, I consider both the provider and the user of the work guilty of cheating. See the chapters on Academic Information and the Student Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook for more details.

Complaining about Grades

I recognize and encourage a student's sacred right to complain about their grade. There are, however, a few rules under which such complaining should take place, and those students who don't follow the rules will be less successful in their complaints than those students who do follow the rules.

First, the only complaint that matters is that something got marked wrong when it was actually right. When you come to complain, be prepared to present, in explicit detail, what it is you did and why you think it's right.

Second, complaints about a particular test or assignment are only valid until the next test or assignment is due; after that point the book is permanently closed on all previous test or assignment grades.

Late Assignments

Assignments must be turned in by their due date; assignments turned in after their due date are late. You should contact me as soon as possible if you need to negotiate a due-date extension. The longer you wait to negotiate, the less likely it is you'll be successful; in particular, you have almost no chance of getting an extension if you try for one the day before the due date, and you have no chance of getting an extention on the due date.

A late assignment is penalized five points a day for each day it's late. I use a 24-hour clock running from midnight to midnight to measure days; note this means that an assignment handed in the day after it's due is penalized ten points: five for the day it was due and five for the next day.


Last year's version of this course.

Sun's Java Language Specification and their Java Platform API Specification for version 1.2, which is what we're running on cslab.

Understanding the Java Virtual Machine is also important for successful concurrent programming because it defines, among other things, Java's thread scheduling policy and memory model (such as it is).

This page last modified on 30 June 2003.