Course syllabus


TDA384/DIT392 (Sep 2023 - Oct 2023) — Principles of Concurrent Programming — 2023-2024 (7,5hp)

Revised on 8 Dec 2021

Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE)

…to information on the course website.

Course purpose

This course provides an introduction to the principles underlying concurrent systems, as well as to practical programming solutions to use concurrency in programs.

Concurrent and parallel programming has become ubiquitous in modern software and systems, where concurrency is leveraged to exploit physical parallelism and speed up computations, to provide interactive multi-tasking, and to handle the interactions with asynchronous external events. This course aims to provide an introduction to the principles underlying concurrent systems, as well as to practical programming solutions for modelling and exploiting concurrency in programs. Domains where such principles and practices are relevant include operating systems, distributed systems, real-time systems, and multicore architectures.

The official course syllabus is available on the Chalmers student portal and the GU website.


For details on the lectures, see the course plan below and the lectures page. For a detailed schedule (including room information), see TimeEdit.

Note: The course is running mostly on campus. Early morning labs and all demos will be held virtually.

Instructors and contact details

The primary means of communication for the course are:

  • This Canvas course room (login) is the primary source of information about the course. All announcements will be made via Canvas (see announcements).

  • The discussion forum is also hosted on Canvas (see forum: forum). There you can ask questions about the course to the teachers and to other students. Sharing solutions to labs is forbidden — on Canvas or anywhere else.

  • Links for remote labs and demos will be added later.

  • Waglys is used for coordinating meeting with TAs during labs (see labs).

  • The course website contains information about the lectures (including lecture slides), about the lab sessions, and about the exam (including old exams).

  • The Teacher’s mailing list is, which you shouldn’t use unless you really need to contact the teachers via email — please use the discussion forum to ask questions that are of general interest!

  • The Fire system, where you can upload submissions to the labs.

Course responsibles

Teaching assistants (TAs)

The TAs are responsible for supervision of the lab sessions and grading.

Student representatives

  • For the University of Gothenburg: to be announced

Course literature

(If you find any broken links here, please report them to the instructors by email, so we can fix them!)

Course textbooks

The lectures themselves are the ultimate reference for the course topics. Nevertheless, we refer you to the two official course textbooks for additional details. The course’s list of lectures mentions which chapters and sections of the textbooks are covered in each lecture.

  • M. Ben-Ari: Principles of Concurrent and Distributed Programming, 2nd Edition, Addison-Wesley

    The book has a website with downloadable slides and code examples

  • M. Herlihy & N. Shavit: The Art of Multiprocessor Programming, Morgan Kaufmann

    The book is available online through the Chalmers library and the GU library

  • An excellent resource for programmers new to Erlang, freely available as a web tutorial:

    F. Hébert: Learn You Some Erlang for Great Good! A Beginner’s Guide, No Starch Press, 1st edition, 2013

Additional reading

See the course literature page for additional resources.

Course plan

The course normally has two lectures per week. The lecture slides of each lecture are available on the course website and in Canvas latest the day before each lecture.

There are three supervised lab sessions per week. Students can attend any of the supervised lab session and receive help and tutoring from the supervising assistants on the lab assignments that are currently due. There are three labs, which require the students to give a brief demo to the teaching assistants during one of the designated lab sessions.

The course consists of the following lectures and labs.


  1. Introduction to the course
  2. Races, locks and semaphores
  3. Models of concurrency and synchronization algorithms
  4. Synchronization problems with semaphores
  5. Monitors
  6. Parallelizing computations
  7. Introduction to functional programming in Erlang
  8. Message-passing concurrency in Erlang
  9. Synchronization problems with message-passing
  10. Parallel linked lists
  11. Lock-free programming
  12. Verification of concurrent programs
  13. Weak Memory Models

Additional Lectures

We hold tutorials in Java (emphasis on concurrency) and in Erlang. The last lecture will be used for revision. We are trying to organize a guest lecture.


  1. Setup (deadlines: 31 Aug 2023, 31 Aug 2023)
  2. Trainspotting (deadlines: 13 Sep 2023, 30 Oct 2023)
  3. A-mazed (deadlines: 27 Sep 2023, 30 Oct 2023)
  4. CCHAT (deadlines: 18 Oct 2023, 30 Oct 2023)

Examination and grading

We will asset your knowledge of the content of the course both in the labs and in the final written exam. The course awards a total of 100 points: a maximum of 70 points for the exam, and a maximum of 30 points for the labs.

The exam takes place on 25 October 2023, Afternoon. You are allowed to bring the following to the exam:

  • up to 2 textbooks
  • up to 4 two-sided sheets of A4 paper with notes (printed or handwritten),
  • an English dictionary

Exam grading

  • The exam is graded as follows:









Labs grading

Each lab submission receives points when it is marked as passing; the amount of points depends on the lab and on how many of your previous submissions of the same lab were rejected.

Accepted at attempt #1 Accepted at attempt #2 Accepted at attempt #3
Lab 1 8 6 4
Lab 2 8 6 4
Lab 3 8 6 4

Each lab has a distinction part worth 2 points, available only on the first attempt. To get these 2 distinction points, submit a solution to the whole lab including the distinction part, at the first attempt. This allows the TAs to check the distinction part at the demonstration. Minor errors can be fixed in later attempts. If you do not submit a solution to the distinction part at the first attempt, you forfeit the 2 distinction points.

Overall grading

  • The overall grade is determined as follows:

    • To pass the course, you need these points in each of the exam and labs:


      Lab 1

      Lab 2

      Lab 3

      Minimum points to pass:





    • If you pass the course, the overall grade is determined based on the total points as follows:

      Points in Exam + Labs








Learning objectives and syllabus

Knowledge and understanding:

  • demonstrate knowledge of the issues and problems that arise in writing correct concurrent programs;
  • identify the problems of synchronization typical of concurrent programs, such as race conditions and mutual exclusion.

Skills and abilities:

  • apply common patterns, such as lock, semaphores, and message-passing synchronization for solving concurrent program problems;
  • apply practical knowledge of the programming constructs and techniques offered by modern concurrent programming languages;
  • implement solutions using common patterns in modern programming languages

Judgment and approach:

  • evaluate the correctness, clarity, and efficiency of different solutions to concurrent programming problems;
  • judge whether a program, a library, or a data structure is safe for usage in a concurrent setting;
  • pick the right language constructs for solving synchronization and communication problems between computational units.

The official course syllabus is available on the Chalmers student portal and the GU website.

Course summary:

Date Details Due