Reliable Programming With Rust

EN.601.206 (13), Intersession 2023

Course Overview

Software reliability has long been a demand for critical systems, cloud systems, and even day-to-day applications. Yet, current software systems are written in decades-old programming languages that easily allow programmers to make mistakes, but the languages are receiving stagnant improvements to resolve those issues. Rust is a modern programming language that aims to eradicate the common programmer mistakes at compile time. This course provides students who have already acquired a basic understanding of programming with the knowledge to help them improve programming skills. We will learn about the language designs that make Rust reliable, including but are not limited to ownership, borrowing, lifetime, error handling, pattern matching, internal mutability, and concurrency designs. In addition, we will cover the implicit designs to be cautious with and the modern designs that make Rust convenient to use.


The goal of this course is to help students build reliable software. Students will gain in-depth understanding of both the language designs that make it reliable and the principles behind software reliability. Students will be able to write reliable and efficient software in Rust. Students will also become capable to write safer code with reliability concepts in mind when writing in other programming languages. These skills will help students become more effective programmers in writing reliable and efficient software.


The course is organized through lectures and homework. In each class, the instructor will talk about the designs in Rust and the rationale behind the designs. Students will work individually on assignments to practice the concept in Rust and improve their reliable programming skills.


EN.600.220 (Intermediate Programming), or students should demonstrate deep understanding of the C and C++ programming language concepts. The course schedule is short and tight, and focuses more on software reliability than on language itself. It thus relies on students to have basic prior knowledge of similar concepts in other languages in order to quickly understand the context of new concepts.


Yuzhuo Jing

Email: yzjing ~AT~ jhu ~DOT~ edu

Office Hours: Fridays 3:00pm-4:00pm, Malone 122 or Zoom

Home: Canvas

Forum: Campuswire

Autograder: Gradescope


Days of week Time Location
Tue/Wed/Fri 12:00pm-01:20pm Krieger 308


The schedule and topics are tentative, and may change over time. Please check the course homepage regularly for updates.

Week Date Lecture Readings Assignment
1 01/03 Tue Introduction + Basics Ch. 1, Ch. 3, Ch. 5 HW1
01/04 Wed The Three Swords (Ownership, Borrowing, Lifetime) (drafts: rendered, vec.c, vec.cpp, Ch. 4
01/06 Fri The Three Swords (Ownership, Borrowing, Lifetime) cont. Ch. 10.3
2 01/10 Tue Pattern Matching and Error Handling Ch. 6, Ch. 9, Ch. 19 HW2
01/11 Wed Traits and Generics Ch. 10, Ch. 18.2
01/17 Tue Iterator Ch. 8.1, Ch. 14.2, Ch. 16
3 01/13 Fri Fearless Concurrency Ch. 17 HW3
01/18 Wed Unsafe: Courage To The Dangerous Wild Ch. 20.1, extended: The Rustonomicon
01/20 Fri A Glance from the Foothill TBA
4 01/22 Sun All HWs due

Note: The chapter links are based on the Rust Book experiment version from Brown University. The numbering may differ from the official version, and may differ across Rust versions.


The Rust Programming Language, by Steve Klabnik and Carol Nichols, in either version:

Extended reading:


Grade system: S/U

Homework: 100%


The course syllabus, lecture and homework materials are influenced and inspired by UPenn CIS 198 and UMD CMSC388Z. Examples are derived from The Rust Programming Language, Rust by Example, Rust for Rustaceans, and the aforementioned course materials.