Quiz Topics

Overview #

These are not the PrairleLearn quizzes that are part of your weekly lab.

There are 7 graded Quizzes available at PrairieLearn, attempt all 7 (there are no drops).

Quizzes may be retaken without penality and are due the last day of instruction at UIUC ie. The day before Reading Day.

To avoid leaving all quizzes to the last moment we suggest the following due dates -

Suggested due dates

Don’t stress … These due dates are not enforced; they are just suggestions to space out quizes over the semester. You can take and retake the quizes before or after these dates (upto reading day).

Spring / Fall Semesters

  • 02-15 / 09-15 Quiz 1 (C foundation)
  • 03-01 / 10-01 Quiz 2 (fork,exec,wait and heap)
  • 03-25 / 10-25 Quiz 3 (pthreads, producer-consumer, synchronization primitives)
  • 04-01 / 11-01 Quiz 4 (threading issues & race conditions, virtual memory)
  • 04-13 / 11-13 Quiz 5 (networking and pipes)
  • 04-20 / 11-27 Quiz 6 (review -hand picked questions from the above)
  • 05-03 / 12-03 Quiz 7 (security)

Quiz 1 #


  • C Strings representation
  • C Strings as pointers
  • char p[] vs. char* p
  • Simple C string functions (strcmp, strcat, strcpy)
  • sizeof char
  • sizeof x vs x*
  • Heap memory lifetime
  • Calls to heap allocation
  • Dereferencing pointers
  • Address-of operator
  • Pointer arithmetic
  • String duplication
  • String truncation
  • double-free error
  • String literals
  • Print formatting.
  • memory out of bounds errors
  • static memory
  • fileio POSIX vs. C library
  • C io fprintf and printf
  • POSIX file IO (read, write, open)
  • Buffering of stdout

Quiz 2 #


  • C Foundations (see above)
  • Correct use of fork, exec and waitpid
  • Using exec with a path
  • Understanding what fork and exec and waitpid do. E.g. how to use their return values.
  • What signal is sent when you press CTRL-C
  • Using kill from the shell or the kill POSIX call.
  • Process memory isolation.
  • Process memory layout (where is the heap, stack etc; invalid memory addresses).
  • What is a fork bomb, zombie and orphan? How to create/remove them.
  • getpid vs getppid
  • How to use the WAIT exit status macros WIFEXITED etc.

Quiz 3 #


  • pthread lifecycle
  • create join
  • pthread_join pthread_exit vs exit
  • threads vs process
  • Critical sections
  • Counting Semaphores
  • Barriers
  • Condition Variables
  • Producer Consumer
  • Ring buffer

Quiz 4 #


  • The Dining Philosopher Problem
  • The Reader Writer Problem
  • The four Coffman conditions (and the definition of each one)
  • Create thread safe code using semaphores
  • Creating a barrier using condition variables
  • Deadlock and Resource Allocation Graph
  • pthread race conditions
  • Creating pipes
  • Using fseek and ftell
  • page tables (page offsets, dirty bit,TLB)

Quiz 5 #

  • Basic properties of TCP and UDP
  • Purpose and properties of each TCP server call
  • Correct order of the “big 4” TCP server calls.
  • What is DNS, and what is its purpose?
  • POSIX calls required to create a TCP client
  • Properties of UDP, TCP, IPv4, IPv6, privileged ports
  • Purpose and basic properties of sockets
  • Be able to correctly choose when to use ntohs, ntohl, htons, htonl
  • Correct setting up addrinfo hints struct for a TCP server or client
  • Purpose and properties of getaddrinfo
  • Reading and writing to pipes (including blocking, SIGPIPE and detecting when no more bytes can be read)

Quiz 6 #

  • Review. This quiz includes questions from previous topics.

Quiz 7 #

  • See the Security chapter in the course book.


  • Security fundamentals and principles
  • Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability (CIA) principles
  • CIA examples
  • Compiler and developer-related targetted attacks
  • Security-related development practices
  • CPU Microarchitecture side channel attacks (Meltdown and Spectre)
  • Network and protocol attacks (Heartbleed Syn-flooding, DDOS)
  • POSIX Process-related security features (exectable memory, process-as-a-secure container model)