Principles of Software Construction Objects, Design, and Concurrency


Software engineers today are less likely to design data structures and algorithms from scratch and more likely to build systems from library and framework components. In this course, students engage with concepts related to the construction of software systems at scale, building on their understanding of the basic building blocks of data structures, algorithms, program structures, and computer structures. The course covers technical topics in four areas: (1) concepts of design for complex systems, (2) object oriented programming, (3) static and dynamic analysis for programs, and (4) concurrent and distributed software. Student assignments involve engagement with complex software such as distributed massively multi-player game systems and frameworks for graphical user interaction.

After completing this course, students will:


Tu/Th 3:00 - 4:20 p.m. in DH 2315

Professor Bogdan Vasilescu
WEH 5115
Professor Christian Kästner
WEH 5126

Both instructors have an open door policy: If either of the instructors' office doors are open and no-one else is meeting with us, we are happy to answer any course-related questions. For appointments, email the instructors.

Course Syllabus and Policies

The syllabus covers course overview and objectives, evaluation, time management, recommended books, late work policy, and collaboration policy.

Learning Goals

The learning goals describe what we want students to know or be able to do by the end of the semester. We evaluate whether learning goals have been achieved through assignments and exams.

Course Calendar


We are expecting several changes to the course this semester. The schedule below is a draft based on previous instances of the course and is likely to change.

Date Topic Reading assignments* Assignments due*
Tue, Jan 17 Course introduction and course infrastructure
Thu, Jan 19 Introduction to Java + Design for change: Subtype polymorphism Optional: Java Precisely (e.g., Sec. 4, 9, 10, 22)
Tue, Jan 24 Design for change: Design patterns, information hiding, contracts Effective Java, Items 13 and 14
Wed, Jan 25 rec 1 Unit testing, continuous integration
Thu, Jan 26 Design for change: Unit testing, instanceof Optional: Effective Java, Items 8, 9, 56; UML and Patterns, Ch. 16 hw1 Intro to OO and course infrastructure
Tue, Jan 31 Design for reuse: Delegation and inheritance Effective Java, Items 15 and 39
Wed, Feb 1 rec 2 Behavioral subtyping
Thu, Feb 2 Design for reuse: Behavioral subtyping and immutability Optional: Effective Java, Items 16, 17, and 18 hw2 Polymorphism, unit testing
Tue, Feb 7 Object-oriented analysis: Modeling a problem domain UML and Patterns, Ch. 9 and 10
Wed, Feb 8 rec 3 Inheritance and delegation
Thu, Feb 9 Responsibility assignment Optional: UML and Patterns, Ch. 17; Effective Java, Item 38, 43, and 57ff hw3 Inheritance and delegation
Tue, Feb 14 Design for robustness UML and Patterns, Ch. 14, 15, and 16
Wed, Feb 15 rec 4 Design process
Thu, Feb 16 Midterm exam 1
Tue, Feb 21 Analysis Fowler, Ch. 1
Wed, Feb 22 rec 5 Design patterns
Thu, Feb 23 Introduction to Concurrency and GUIs hw4a Designing complex software
Tue, Feb 28 Design case study: Java Swing UML and Patterns, Ch. 26.1 and 26.4
Wed, Mar 1 rec 6 Introduction to GUIs
Thu, Mar 2 Design case study: Java Collections & I/O Optional: Effective Java, Item 1
Tue, Mar 7 Performance Effective Java, Items 5, 6, and 51
Wed, Mar 8 rec 7 GUIs++
Thu, Mar 9 Design for large-scale reuse: Libraries & frameworks hw4b Design to implementation
Tue, Mar 14 Spring Break
Thu, Mar 16 Spring Break
Tue, Mar 21 Design for large-scale reuse: Libraries & frameworks (continued) -
Wed, Mar 22 rec 8 Frameworks
Thu, Mar 23 Designing APIs hw4c GUI implementation
Tue, Mar 28 Concurrency: Java Primitives Beautiful Code, Ch. 6
Wed, Mar 29 rec 9 Design pattern mining
Thu, Mar 30 Midterm exam 2
Tue, Apr 4 Concurrency: Safety Java Concurrency in Practice, Ch. 11.3 and 11.4 hw5a Framework design
Wed, Apr 5 rec 10 Framework presentations
Thu, Apr 6 Concurrency: Structuring applications
Tue, Apr 11 Concurrency: Parallelizing algorithms and Actors Java Concurrency in Practice, Ch. 10 hw5b Framework and plugin implementation
Wed, Apr 12 rec 11 Concurrency
Thu, Apr 13 Concurrency: Testing and analysis (Guest lecture: Tim Halloran)
Tue, Apr 18 Toward distributed systems Java Concurrency in Practice, Ch. 12 hw5c Plugins for others' frameworks
Wed, Apr 19 rec 12 Remote Method Invocation
Thu, Apr 20 No lecture: Carnival
Tue, Apr 25 More design patterns -
Wed, Apr 26 rec 13 Executor Services
Thu, Apr 27 Toward software engineering in practice (incl. teams and process)
Tue, May 2 Developer tools and devops tbd
Wed, May 3 rec 14 Java Streams
Thu, May 4 Developer tools and devops 2 hw6 Concurrency/distributed systems
Thu, May 11 Final exam (1-4pm, GHC 4401)
* = For details, see assignment on Piazza or your Github repository.