COMP6771 Week 1.1

Course Outline

What is C++

  • C++ is a more complex language than C
  • C++ code is much simpler than C code
  • C++ is a powerful, low level language, that allows you to write code that is fast, concise, and easy to understand
  • There is nothing between C++ and the hardware
    • Unlike Java, Python, Javascript - which contain an abstraction layer
  • C++ has zero over-head abstractions - abstractions are a big part
    • STL library has abstract containers, algorithms, and iterators
  • C++ has a principle of don't pay for what you don't use
    • ​You can use OOP, but you're not obliged to pay the extra runtime cost for polymorphism
    • Things automatically get freed up, but you don't pay for garbage collection
  • In this course we will focus on C++17

What is C++ used for

  • Operating systems
    • Despite myths, C++ is as fast as C, but far more concise and easier to write correct code
  • Low latency software (eg. high frequency trading)
    • C++ can have direct control over the hardware
  • Games
  • Just about anything you can think of


  • C++ is backwards compatible with C, so it's easy to think that you can build your C++ understanding directly on top of your C understanding
  • However, while valid C code is often valid C++, good C is is almost never good C++ code
    • Over the years C++ continues to diverge from C
  • For example, when we teach you best practice, we will not be using:
    • malloc
    • free
    • C-style arrays
    • C-style strings
  • And will be sometimes discouraging use of:
    • raw pointers (char *, int *)

What will be taught in this course

  • You will be taught how to understand what C++ can do, how C++ works, and modern best practices around writing code. We will cover:
    • STL containers, iterators, algorithms
    • Object Oriented Programming
    • Operator Overloading
    • Iterators
    • Templates

What will be taught in this course

  • In 2019 we will also emphasise preparing students for writing C++ in industry.
  • We will be teaching:
    • A test framework this year (Catch2)
    • A build system (bazel)
    • Developer tooling (how to use a debugger)


  • Lecturer in charge:
    • Hayden Smith
  • Lecturers:
    • Hayden Smith
    • Matthew Stark
    • (Guest) Christopher Di Bella
  • Tutors:
    • Adam Tizzone, Gaganjot Singh, Gary Bai, Ivor Metcalf, Hayden Smith, Matthew Phillips, Nathaniel Shead, Nicholas Malecki, Nicholas Mulianto, Simon Haddad

Where to get help

Your question-answer hierarchy

  1. Webcms3 forum (on every page)
  2. Your tutor (Emails on your tutorial page)
  3. Lecturer(s)
  4. Hayden (for personal)


Questions that are non-personal will only be answered on the forum.



Where to get resources

  • Books
    • Programming: Principles and Practice Using C++ (Bjarne Stroustrup, 2nd Edition - May 25, 2014) ( updated for C++11/C++14 ) An introduction to programming using C++ by the creator of the language. A good read, that assumes no previous programming experience, but is not only for beginners.
    • Here is a list, but use with caution:
  • Websites:
    • We recommend:
    • Do not use:
      • It frequently is first in search results.
      • Frequently inaccurate and outdated

Course Repository

Schedule & Structure

  • Please see course outline for full course schedule
  • Teaching provided includes:
    • 3 hours of physically delivered lectures (recorded)
    • 1 optional hour of online delivered lectures (catch up, guest lecturing)
    • 1 hour of tutorial with your tutor


Assessment Weighting Date of completion
Assignment 1
15% Week 3
Assignment 2
Week 6
Assignment 3
20% Week 9
Exam 50% Exam Period


  • Final marks may be scaled
  • Final exam:
    • Hurdle exam
    • Done on CSE lab machines - prac and theory components
  • Assignments:
    • Will have an emphasis on testing
    • Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Immediate 0 for assignment.
    • Version control knowledge is assumed and recommended
    • Late penalties are 2% every hour off the maximum mark after due date


In your first tutorial your class will choose a class rep to represent your class to simplify feedback processes.


Top 10 performing students, pending an interview with Hayden, will be referred to a personal contact at Zoox for employment opportunities.

COMP6771 19T2 - 1.1 - Course Outline

By cs6771

COMP6771 19T2 - 1.1 - Course Outline

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