CSE333 17wi -- Homework #1Out: Friday January 6, 2017
Due: Tuesday January 17, 2017, 11:59 PM.
Please read through this entire document before beginning the assignment, and please start early! This assignment involves messy pointer manipulation and malloc/free puzzles, and these can cause arbitrarily awful bugs that take time and patience to find and fix.
If you've programmed in Java, you're used to having a fairly rich library of elemental data structures upon which you can build, such as vectors and hash tables. In C, you don't have that luxury: the C standard library provides you with very little. In this assignment, you will add missing pieces of code in our implementation of a generic doubly-linked list.
At a high-level, a doubly-linked list is incredibly simple; it looks like this:
Each node in a doubly-linked list has three fields; a payload, a pointer to the previous element in the list (or NULL if there is no previous element), and a pointer to the next element in the list. If the list is empty, there are no nodes. If the list has a single element, both of its next and previous pointers are NULL.
So, what makes implementing this in C tricky? Quite a few things:
- First, we want to make the list useful for storing arbitrary
kinds of payloads. In practice, this means the payload element in
a list node needs to be a pointer supplied by the customer of the
list implementation. Given that the pointer might point to
something malloc'ed by the customer, this means we might need to
help the customer free the payload when the list is destroyed.
- Second, we want to hide details about the implementation of
the list by exposing a high-level, nicely abstracted API. In
particular, we don't want our customers to fiddle with next and
previous pointers in order to navigate through the list, and we
don't want our customers to have to stitch up pointers in order to
add or remove elements from the list. Instead, we'll offer our
customers nice functions for adding and removing elements and
a Java-like iterator abstraction for navigating through the list.
- Third, C is not a garbage-collected language: you're responsible for managing memory allocation and deallocation yourself. This means we need to be malloc'ing structures when we add nodes to a list, and we need to be free'ing structures when we remove nodes from a list. We also might need to malloc and free structures that represent the overall list itself.
Given all of these complications, our actual linked list data structure ends up looking like this:
Specifically, we define the following types:
- LinkedList: a pointer to a LinkedListHead
structure. When our customer asks us to allocate a new, empty
linked list, we malloc and initialize a LinkedListHead
structure, and return a pointer to that malloc'ed structure to
- LinkedListHead: a structure containing bookkeeping
information about an entire linked list, including the number of
nodes in the list and pointers to the head and tail nodes of the
- LinkedListNodePtr: a pointer to a LinkedListNode
- LinkedListNode: a structure representing a node in a
doubly-linked list. It contains a field for stashing away
(a pointer to) the customer-supplied payload, and fields pointing
to the previous and next LinkedListNode in the list. When a
customer requests that we add an element to the linked list, we
malloc a new LinkedListNode to store the pointer to that element, then we do
surgery to splice the LinkedListNode into the data structure and
we update the LinkedListHead as well.
- LLIter: sometimes customers want to navigate
through a linked list. To help them do that, we provide them with
an iterator. LLIter points to a structure that keeps the
state of an iterator. When a customer asks for a new iterator, we
malloc a LLIterSt, and return a pointer to it to the customer.
- LLIterSt: a structure containing bookkeeping associated with an iterator. In particular, it tracks the list that the iterator is associated with and the node in the list that the iterator currently points to. Note that there is a consistency problem here: if a customer updates a linked list by removing a node, it's possible that some existing iterator becomes inconsistent by pointing to the deleted node. So, we make our customers promise that they will free any live iterators before mutating the linked list. (Since we are generous, we do allow a customer to keep an iterator if the mutation was done using that iterator.)
What to do.
You should follow these steps to do this assignment:
- Make sure you are comfortable with C pointers, structures,
malloc, and free. We will cover them in detail in lecture, but you
might need to brush up and practice a bit on your own; you should
have no problem Googling for practice programming exercises on the
Web for each of these topics.
- To fetch the additional source files for hw1 download from this link
- Look inside the hw1 directory. You'll see a number of files and
subdirectories, including these that are relevant to Part A:
- Makefile: a makefile you can use to compile the
assignment using the Linux command make all.
- LinkedList.h: a header file that defines and documents the API to
the linked list. A customer of the linked list includes this
header file and uses the functions defined within in. Read
through this header file very carefully to understand how the
linked list is expected to behave.
- LinkedList_priv.h, LinkedList.c: LinkedList_priv.h is a private header file
included by LinkedList.c; it defines the structures we diagrammed above.
LinkedList.c contains the partially completed implemented of our
doubly-linked list. Your task will be to finish the
implementation. Take a minute and read through both files; note
that there are a bunch of places in LinkedList.c that say "STEP X:"
these labels identify the missing pieces of the implementation
that you will finish.
- example_program_ll.c: this is a simple example of how a
customer might use the linked list; in it, you can see the
customer allocating a linked list, adding elements to it,
creating an iterator, using the iterator to navigate a bit, and
then cleaning up.
- test_linkedlist.cc: this file contains unit tests that we wrote
to verify that the linked list implementation works correctly.
The unit tests are written to use the Google Test unit
testing framework, which has similarities to Java's JUnit testing
framework. As well, this test driver will assist the TA in
grading your assignment: as you add more pieces to the
implementation, the test driver will make it further through the
unit tests, and it will print out a cumulative score along the
way. You don't need to understand what's in the test driver for
this assignment, though if you peek inside it, you might get
hints for what kinds of things you should be doing in your implementation!
- solution_binaries: in this directory, you'll find some Linux
executables, including example_program_ll and test_suite.
These binaries were compiled with a complete, working version of
LinkedList.c; you can run them to explore what should be displayed
when your assignment is working!
- Makefile: a makefile you can use to compile the assignment using the Linux command make all.
- Run "make" to verify that you can build your own versions
of example_program_ll and test_suite. Make should print out a
few things, and you should end up with new binaries inside
the hw1 directory.
- Since you haven't yet finished the implementation of LinkedList.c,
the binaries you just compiled won't work correctly yet. Try
running them, and note that example_program_ll produces a
segmentation fault (indicating memory corruption or a pointer
problem), and test_suite prints out some test suite information
before crashing out.
- This is the hard step: finish the implementation of LinkedList.c.
Go through LinkedList.c, find each comment that says "STEP X", and replace
that comment with working code. The initial steps are meant to
be relatively straightforward, and some of the later steps are
trickier. You will probably find it helpful to read through
the code from top to bottom to figure out what's going on.
You will also probably find it helpful to recompile frequently
to see what compilation errors you've introduced and need to fix.
When compilation works again, try running the test driver to
see if you're closer to being finished.
- We'll also be testing whether your program has any memory
leaks. We'll be using Valgrind
to do this. To try out Valgrind for yourself, do this:
- cd into the solution_binaries subdirectory, and run
the following command:
valgrind --leak-check=full ./example_program_llNote that Valgrind prints out that no memory leaks were found. Similarly, try running the test driver under Valgrind:
valgrind --leak-check=full ./test_suiteand note that Valgrind again indicates that no memory leaks were found.
- now, cd back up into the hw1 directory, compile your versions of the example_program_ll and test_suite binaries, and try running them under Valgrind. If you have no memory leaks and the test_suite runs the linked list tests to completion, you're done with part A!
- cd into the solution_binaries subdirectory, and run the following command:
When you're ready to turn in your assignment, do the following:
- In the hw1 directory:
bash$ make clean bash$ cd .. bash$ tar czf hw1_<username>.tar.gz hw1 bash$ # make sure the tar file has no compiler output files in it, but bash$ # does have all your source bash$ tar tzf hw1_<username>.tar.gz hw1
- Turn in hw1_<username>.tar.gz hw1 using the
We will be basing your grade on several elements:
- The degree to which your code passes the unit tests contained
in test_linkedlist.cc. If your code fails a
test, we won't attempt to understand why: we're planning on just
including the number of points that the test drivers print out.
- We have some additional unit tests that test a few additional
cases that aren't in the supplied test drivers. We'll be checking
to see if your code passes these as well.
- The quality of your code. We'll be judging this on several
qualitative aspects, including whether you've sufficiently
factored your code and whether there is any redundancy in your code
that could be eliminated.
- The readability of your code. For this assignment, we don't
have formal coding style guidelines that you must follow; instead,
attempt to mimic the style of code that we've provided you.
Aspects you should mimic are conventions you see for
capitalization and naming of variables, functions, and arguments,
the use of comments to document aspects of the code, and how code