Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 3 sessions / week for 2 weeks, 1.5 hours / session

Course Description

Ever hang your head in shame after your Python program wasn’t as fast as your friend’s C program? Ever wish you could use objects without having to use Java? Join us for this fun introduction to C and C++! We will take you through a tour that will start with writing simple C programs, go deep into the caves of C memory manipulation, resurface with an introduction to using C++ classes, dive deeper into advanced C++ class use and the C++ Standard Template Libraries. We’ll wrap up by teaching you some tricks of the trade that you may need for tech interviews.

We see this as a “C/C++ empowerment” course: we want you to come away understanding

  1. why you would want to use C over another language (control over memory, probably for performance reasons),
  2. why you would want to use C++ rather than C (objects), and
  3. how to be useful in C and C++.


We target this course to those with some degree of comfort programming (in Python, Scheme, Java, etc.) who want to become comfortable with using C/C++. No C/C++ experience expected.

Course Outline

1 Motivation for using C/C++; discussion of where C and C++ sit in the abstraction hierarchy; writing our first C programs
2 The logistics of memory manipulation in C (pointers, structs)
3 More advanced memory manipulation in C. We’ll show double linked-list insert in place, inserting into a linked list using a double pointer, corner cases of using memory (when we actually need heap allocation), etc.
4 Introduction to C++; encapsulation: classes, namespaces, constructors and destructors; memory management in C++ (new, delete); operator overloading and standard input/output
5 Inheritance and polymorphism; templates; standard library containers
6 Tricks of the trade. Things people might see in interviews, etc. Review and discussion of the covered topics, Q&A.
Course Info
As Taught In
January IAP 2010
Learning Resource Types
notes Lecture Notes
assignment Programming Assignments