Disassembling C code to see the assembly language

We’ve been talking about assembly language in class recently and I’ve found a nice way of comparing source code with the assembly that the compile outputs. This is C, a compiled language.

int main() {
  divmod(26, 5);

int divmod (int dividend, int divisor) {
  int quotient = 0;
  while (dividend - divisor >= 0) {
    dividend = dividend - divisor;
    quotient = quotient + 1;

The code divides 26 by 5 to give a quotient of 5 and remainder of 1, which is left stored in the dividend variable.

(This file was saved as divmod.c and then compiled using gcc, which is probably already installed on Mac computers. If you’re on Windows, you are advised to install the Community Edition of Microsoft Visual C++.)

Now, using a utility called objdump, which is preinstalled on my Linux laptop, I can now output the assembly code that was generated by the compiler. The output file of the compiler is called a.out, so that is the input to objdump. The flags tell objdump to include the source code intermixed with the assembly code, which is very handy for us!

The command to disassemble the compiled code is:

objdump -Sd --dwarf=info a.out

This provides a whole load of output, but in amongst it you can find the assembly code for the divmod function:

objdump output

Passing code as a parameter: An example of Java 8’s lambda expressions

In languages like Python and Javascript, functions are “first class objects”. This means that they can be assigned to variables and passed as parameters. In Java, if you want this functionality, you have to use an anonymous class or a lambda expression. Below are examples of the old-fashioned anonymous class technique, the new Lambda expression technique and, for comparison, the same code in Python and Javascript. EDIT: I’ve now also included Kotlin, a new language I’m quite interested in that compiles to Java bytecode and runs on the JVM.

Note the in the Lambda expression example there is no body provided for the execute() method. The fact that the Executable interface has a single method, and that the code passed in is interpreted as an Executable object, is sufficient for the compiler to know that the code passed in should be run when the execute() method is invoked.


package lambdaexample;

public class Main {

    public static void main(String[] args) {

    // This method not required by Lambda example
    static void doAnonymousClassExample() {
        CodeRunner c = new CodeRunner();
        c.run(new Executable() {
            public void execute() {
                System.out.println("The code is running.");

    // This method not required by anonymous class example
    static void doLambdaExample() {
        CodeRunner runner = new CodeRunner();
        runner.run(() -> System.out.println("The code is running."));

interface Executable {
    void execute();

class CodeRunner {
    void run(Executable code) {
        System.out.println("About to run the code...");


var foo = function() {
  console.log("The code is running.");

function codeExecuter(code) {
  console.log("About to run code...");



def codeexecuter(code):
    print("About to run code...")

foo = lambda : print("The code is running.")


fun main (args: Array) {
    val foo: () -> Unit = { println("The code is running...") }

fun codeExecuter(code: () -> Unit) {
    println("About to run code...")

Java Multithreading Example

This is not on the IB Computer Science syllabus, but it’s useful for IAs and Grade 10 projects. One of the key reasons you might decide to run some code in its own thread is so that your GUI can remain responsive to user-generated events like button clicks. Imagine you have a sudoku game that displays a timer. You would need to run the timer in its own thread so that the game remained responsive to the user entering answers in the sudoku grid.

public class MultiThreadingExample {

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        /* Create five new tasks and set them running in their
         * own threads.
        for (int i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
            /* Notice that because we don't re-use the task 
             * or thread objects, there is no need to assign
             * them to variables. This code is equivalent to
             * Task task = new Task();
             * Thread thread = new Thread(task);
             * thread.start()
            (new Thread(new Task())).start();

class Task implements Runnable {
    private static int nextId;
    private int id;
    public Task() {
    private synchronized void init() {
        /* The synchronized keyword ensures that any thread
         * that runs this method runs the whole method before
         * yielding to another thread. This is necessary here
         * to prevent two threads from executing id = nextId
         * consecutively (in which case they will both get the
         * same id).
        id = nextId;
        nextId = nextId + 1;        
    public void run() {
        /* Each thread just counts up to 10 and prints out its
         * id and the number it has reached.
        for(int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
            System.out.println(id + ": " + i);