CS 410P/510 Rust: Rust Programming

Term: Spring 2021
Credits: 4 (410P), 3 (510)
CRN: 64683 (410P), 64684 (510)
Section: 60 (410P), 76 (510)
Meeting Time: Tuesday, Thursday 1200-1350 (Noon-1:30PM)
Meeting Location: Remote (see below)
Instructor: Bart Massey (
TA: Katherine Philip (
Office Hours TBA Prerequisites: See below


Everything about this syllabus is entirely tentative, and may be changed at the whim of the instructor without warning.


In this course, we will learn to program in Rust. Rust is a novel programming language combining solid bare-metal performance with modern language features that give acceptable usability and encourage high-quality code.


Required Courses: CS 201, CS 202

Familiarity with programming in general and C or C++ in particular is required. Basic ability to use the Linux environment is required.

Goals, Topics and Objectives

The languages of choice for systems programming for the past 30 years have been C and its larger cousin C++. Because of their popularity and performance, C and C++ have also been a common choice for application programming. However, these languages are well-understood to be both error-prone, inconveniently verbose and repetitive, and difficult to use for large-scale software engineering.

Rust is an attempt to remedy many of the deficiencies of C and C++. Rust provides a modern strong static type system, a strong module system supporting separate module compilation, and a static programmer-transparent memory allocation scheme that largely eliminates runtime memory errors.

In this course, we will learn to program in Rust. Familiarity with programming in general and C/C++ in particular is required. Basic ability to use the Linux environment is required.

Upon the successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Create a Rust project, including proper Cargo configuration.

  • Translate a design into a working Rust program.

  • Explain and remedy type and lifetime errors encountered during Rust programming.

  • Construct reasonable types within programs, including parametric and lifetime-bounded types.

  • Use structs, enums and traits as intended in the construction of Rust programs.

  • Apply references, boxes, cells and reference counting in Rust programming.

  • Divide a Rust crate into multiple source files using the module system.

  • Write tests and documentation using the Rust infrastructure.

  • Write a Rust package ("crate") that integrates smoothly into the Rust ecosystem.

Course Text

Programming Rust: Fast, Safe Systems Development
Jim Blandy and Jason Orendorff
2nd edition, O'Reilly 2021 (planned)

The course textbook for CS410P/510 Rust Programming in Spring 2021 is a pre-release of the Second Edition of Jim Blandy and Jason Orendorff's great book Programming Rust. The publisher, O'Reilly Media, is graciously allowing students to download a PDF draft of the textbook (free of charge). Please check your email for a message about access and fill out the form linked there as soon as possible.

Course Communication

Remote Course

I will be teaching this course remotely for this offering. This will be a challenge for all of us. I am confident we can get a good outcome, but please bear with me as we work the details out.

To participate effectively in this course, you will need to have good Internet access, including outside of lecture hours. If this is a problem for you, please contact me as soon as possible so we can try to work out an accommodation.

Communication Tools

Email will be used infrequently. You are required to use your official email address as registered with the University to participate in this course. This enables greater security for online communications.

Communications for this course will be through Zulip You are required to monitor this channel for course announcements, etc and are strongly encouraged to participate. In addition, you must monitor your email for things that cannot go through Zulip.

Everyone is required to be present in the Zulip. Please use Zulip for discussion with other students, and as the first-choice place to message me if you want to discuss. I should be available pretty solidly on Zulip during the quarter. However, I'd encourage you to post to the course Zulip channel if possible, as some other student may get to your question quicker.

This course will use the Moodle "Learning Management System" (LMS) instead of Desire2Learn, because Moodle works better. I will enroll you in the Moodle: if the course has begun and you are still not enrolled, contact me. The course page for the Moodle is here.

Look for invites to Zulip and Moodle in your email at the start of the quarter.


The course lectures will cover a variety of topics, and may include guest lectures. Please attend them all; they are required and should be useful.

Bi-weekly "in person" lectures will be starting at the listed course time using the Zoom meeting tool: you must be logged into to access them. While it is possible that some lectures will run the full two hours, a lecture time of about one hour will be normal. The Zoom lectures will be recorded for the convenience of students in this difficult time. However, online attendance is expected if at all possible and may very occasionally be required. Please do not schedule this course in such a way that you will not ever be able to attend (for example, in conflict with another class or work schedule).

Lecture time will be focused on demonstrations and discussion. In addition, short "pre-recorded video lectures will be posted to PSU Media Space that you should watch before each "in-person" lecture.

Course Work


This course requires substantial out-of-class homework and study. Expect to spend at least 8 hours of out-of-class time each week mastering this difficult material.

I encourage group collaboration on individual assignments: using the course chat or creating online chat-room study groups to discuss the approach and understand the problem is encouraged. The write-up, programming, and actual solutions must be your individual work. If you represent someone else's work as your own, you are committing plagiarism (see below).


I will assign homework many weeks. Homework assignments are currently planned to count for about 60% of your course grade; the other 40% being for the project. This may change, however. No quizzes or exams are planned or expected.

You may submit a homework as many times as you like, with the latest assignment received before submission closes being the only one considered for a grade. Please submit something before the assignment due date, even if it is only your name, so that you do not fail the course (see below). You can then continue to work on your assignment as desired up until it is graded. Submission may close at the assignment due date: assignments first received after submission closes will receive a score of zero and may result in course failure.

Assignments will be graded for having been turned in and having made a reasonable effort, as well as for a reasonable degree of correctness.

It is important to keep up with this course. A score of zero on any assignment will result in a course grade of F, unless excused by me for exceptional circumstances.

Course Project

You will be assigned a substantial individual course project around week three, which will continue throughout the latter part of the quarter.


Currently, the CS laboratory facilities consist of machines in the Linux Lab and Windows Lab. Work may be done remotely on these or other Departmental boxes. Those with home or laptop boxes are encouraged to use them --- please make sure that they are adequately backed up, though.

Academic Honesty

Cheating on homework or the project will result in a score of zero on the affected material, and will be reported to appropriate PSU authorities. Plagiarism is a form of cheating. Please do not let me catch you plagiarizing.

Plagiarism: n
1. A piece of writing/work that has been copied from someone else and is presented as being your own work.
2. the act of plagiarizing; taking someone's words or ideas as if they were your own.

If you use code, ideas, or text authored by someone else, cite them. It is OK to get help from external sources of knowledge, but citation is mandatory.

Safe Space

PSU and your instructor are committed to providing a safe and effective learning space for people of all races and ethnicities, genders and gender roles, religious beliefs, physical abilities, etc. Students in this course must conduct themselves collegially and professionally. Bigotry or uncivility of any type will not be tolerated: this behavior will result in removal from the course and reporting to the appropriate authorities at PSU.

Access and Inclusion for Students with Disabilities

PSU values diversity and inclusion; we are committed to fostering mutual respect and full participation for all students. My goal is to create a learning environment that is equitable, useable, inclusive, and welcoming. If any aspects of instruction or course design result in barriers to your inclusion or learning, please notify me. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) provides reasonable accommodations for students who encounter barriers in the learning environment.

If you have, or think you may have, a disability that may affect your work in this class and feel you need accommodations, contact the Disability Resource Center to schedule an appointment and initiate a conversation about reasonable accommodations. The DRC is located in 116 Smith Memorial Student Union, 503-725-4150,,

If you already have accommodations, please contact me to make sure that I have received a faculty notification letter and discuss your accommodations. Students who need accommodations for tests and quizzes are expected to schedule their tests to overlap with the time the class is taking the test.

For information about emergency preparedness, please go to the Fire and Life Safety webpage for information.

Discrimination and Harrassment; Mandatory Reporting

Portland State is committed to providing an environment free of all forms of prohibited discrimination and sexual harassment (sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, gender or sex-based harassment and stalking). If you have experienced any form of gender or sex-based discrimination or sexual harassment, know that help and support are available. PSU has staff members trained to support survivors in navigating campus life, accessing health and counseling services, providing academic and on-housing accommodations, helping with legal protective orders, and more. Information about PSU's support services on campus, including confidential services and reporting options, can be found on PSU's Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response website at You may call a Confidential Advocate at 503-725-5672 or by scheduling on-line: You may also report any incident of discrimination or discriminatory harassment, including sexual harassment, to either the Office of Equity and Compliance or the Office of the Dean of Student Life.

Please be aware that all PSU faculty members and instructors are required to report information of an incident that may constitute prohibited discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence. This means that if you tell me about a situation of sexual harassment or sexual violence that may have violated university policy or student code of conduct, I have to share the information with my supervisor, the University's Title IX Coordinator or the Office of the Dean of Student Life. For more information about these matters that include Title IX, please complete the required student module Creating a Safe Campus in your D2L.

Last modified: Thursday, 25 March 2021, 11:10 PM