NFYK17001U  Extreme Multiprogramming (XMP)

Volume 2017/2018

Multithreaded programming is often considered complex, and classic concurrency problems, such as race conditions and deadlocks occur frequently in multithreaded programs. The overall purpose of this course is to enable the student to use threading as the primary design mechanism for large, maintainable, and high-performance applications. 

The course will equip the student with the tools, primarily Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP), required to understand and apply concurrency as a fundamental tool for building both computational platforms (systems-level programming) and end-user applications. It contains a brief introduction to the abstract CSP algebra and in depth concrete realizations in practical programming systems.

Learning Outcome

At course completion, the successful student will have: 

Knowledge of:

  • The CSP framework: concepts, notation, and reasoning principles.

  • CSP-based libraries and languages, such as PyCSP, Go, or Occam.

  • Implementation techniques for efficiently executing concurrent programs on highly parallel platforms.

  • Tools for automatic analysis and verification of concurrent systems.


Skills to:

  • Design and implement highly concurrent programs using the CSP paradigm.

  • Analyze and verify properties of concurrent programs (or program fragments), with respect to both correctness and performance.

  • Reduce to overall complexity of managing concurrency by means of compositionality


Competences to:

  • Construct and validate maintainable, high-performance concurrent and/or parallel applications according to sound structuring and reasoning principles.

  • Communicate effectively and rigorously about key aspects of concurrent systems in both theoretical and practical contexts.

See Absalon for final course material. The following is an example of expected course litterature.

Selected articles and notes.

Supplementary textbook: Tony Hoare, Communicating Sequential Processes (freely downloadable from;

Solid sequential programming competences; BSc-level background in computer architecture (CPU organization, memory hierarchy, ...) and multiprogramming (threads, locks, monitors, semaphores,,,,); basic discrete mathematics (sets, sequences, functions, relations, quantifiers, induction, ...).
Lectures and mandatory assignments. Independent work at home will be a major part of the workload.
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, 12 days
An individually written report based on a fixed assignment, containing both design, reasoning and programming tasks. The report is due on the last day of the exam period and is submitted electronically.
Exam registration requirements

All mandatory homework assignments (three to five) must be approved for the student to participate in the exam.

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

One-week take-home assignment + 30-minute oral examination without preparation; electronic submission.

If student is not yet qualified for the exam, qualification can be achieved by hand-in and approval of equivalent assignments. The assignments must be submitted no later than 14 days before the start of the re-exam.

Criteria for exam assesment

See learning outcome.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Exam
  • 50
  • Preparation
  • 128
  • Total
  • 206