Principles Of C And Memory Management


1. To introduce the issues of memory and memory management within the context of a system-level procedural programming language (C), and debugging tools that facilitate the inspection of state, stack and heap usage during code execution.
2. To familiarise students with a contemporary system-level procedural programming language (C).
3. To demonstrate principles, provide indicative examples, develop problem-solving abilities and provide students with experience and confidence in the use of algorithms with consideration and management of memory usage within a contemporary software setting.


Walkthrough of various elements of the C programming language, by example.
Understanding of functions and how they interact via the stack mechanism. 
Exploration of the use of heap-based memory in C through the use of arrays, pointers, and strings, and exploring their representation in memory.
Dynamic data structures in C: structs and the dynamic creation and destruction of structs. 
Advanced issues, including function pointers and the C pre-processor. 
Hand-on experience with black-box testing, and the  use of debugging tools.

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) At the end of the module the student should be able to: analyse and explain the use of memory resources within software applications, including memory usage on the stack during function calls and heap-based dynamic memory management.

(LO2) Use debugging tools to inspect memory usage, and to assist in the development of software.

(LO3) Develop applications within the C programming language, including use of command-line driven C development tools.

(LO4) Deal with underlying memory-based issues in using dynamic data-structures through the implementation and management of at least one familiar datastructure using the C programming language.

(S1) IT skills

(S2) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

Learning Strategy

Teaching Method 1 - Lecture
Description: Two 1-hour lectures per week, based on slides and interactive demonstrations.
Teaching Method 2 - Laboratory Work
Description: Two lab sessions per week, in which students work individually supported by demonstrators.