CS23000/33000 : Operating Systems (Winter 2004)
Name: David Beazley
Office : Hinds 032
Phone : (773) 702-9111
email : email@example.com
Office hours: By appointment.
- Songyan (Tiger) Feng (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Jonathon Riehl (email@example.com).
- Jing (George) Cao (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The primary objective of this class is to cover concepts central to
the design and implementation of modern operating systems. Topics
include but are not limited to processes, threads, memory management,
file systems, interprocess communication, I/O systems, scheduling,
synchronization, and security. A secondary objective of this course
is to give you some experience working on a substantial software
- C/C++ Programming.
- Computer Architecture.
- Knowledge of basic data structures.
- Prior experience with the Unix operating system (highly recommended).
We will cover at least the first four parts of the Silberschatz book (chapters 1-14).
- Operating System Concepts, 6th Ed., by Silberschatz, Galvin, and Gagne.
The following books are not required, but you may want to get them
if you are unsure about your preparation for this class.
- The C Programming Language, by Kernighan and Ritchie (a.k.a, the famous "K&R" book).
- The Practice of Programming, by Kernighan and Pike.
- Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment., by W. Richard Stevens.
- Soul of a New Machine, by Tracy Kidder.
- Filesystem project (25%)
- Kernel project (50%)
- Midterm (10%)
- Final (15%)
- 90-100 : A
- 80-89 : B
- 70-79 : C
- 60-69 : D
- < 60 : F
Graduate students will be required to perform extra work on the
projects and may have additional questions on the exams. If you are
taking the course for graduate credit, your projects must minimally
all public tests to earn an A in the course.
To access the class machines, you will first need to obtain a CS
account. Please go to
to obtain an account. A dedicated Sun Solaris machine
(stonecrusher.cs.uchicago.edu) is used for most of the work in this
class. This machine is only available to students in CS23000/33000
and is intended to provide an environment in which you can experiment
without receiving the wrath of annoyed system administrators. Access
the machine using 'ssh' from any of the department machines.
A few words about the projects
Operating systems is a very demanding course that requires a
significant amount of programming. Most of your grade in this course
is determined by class projects in which you will work in groups to
implement a fully-functional operating system kernel. Everything you
might have heard about the project is probably true. Therefore, even
though I will not be assigning daily busywork, you should plan on
spending a considerable amount of time working on the project. Also,
be advised that you will not pass the class unless you receive a
passing grade on the projects.
With this said, here are few things to keep in mind:
- This is an advanced computer science course intended for graduate
students and advanced undergraduates. I assume that you are reasonably
proficient with C/C++ programming and basic data structures. If you
aren't up to speed on these topics, it is your responsibility to hit
- You should be able to work independently and find relevant
programming information on your own. For instance, you should know how
to use Unix man pages and how to find programming information in books
and on the internet. Don't expect an excuse of "I couldn't figure out
how to do it because you didn't tell us in class" to work here. When
in doubt, post a question to the class mailing list---we will answer
your questions (provided they are asked).
- The development environment for the project is Sun Solaris and
ANSI C. You should be somewhat familiar with basic Unix commands, a
text editor such as emacs or vi, and use of a C compiler. We will
provide some help to get you started, but this class isn't meant to be
an introduction to Unix. If you have never used Unix before, you
might consider installing Linux on your own computer and playing around with it.
- The time commitment required for the class projects is
substantial. Based on previous course evaluations, students
report spending 15-30 hours per week outside of class.
Please keep this in mind when planning your time schedule.
- A significant amount of interaction tends to occur outside of the
classroom and in the labs. Therefore I encourage you to interact with
your classmates, to provide assistance to those who might be
struggling, and to engage in an open exchange of ideas. Part of your
grade will be based on your lab participation.
The programming language used in this course is ANSI C. The following
coding guidelines must be followed:
- All programs must be written in strict ANSI C. This means that
your programs may not use any programming language features
or libraries not explicitly mentioned in the Kernighan & Ritchie
"The C Programming Language" book.
- No C++ programming features may be used at any time. This
includes the use of C++ comments (//).
- Use of non-standard compiler extensions is not allowed. Be aware
that the GNU 'gcc' compiler supports many non-standard features including
several C++ features that seem to "work" in C programs.
- All programs must compile cleanly without errors or warnings.
- Your code will be graded for style and efficiency.
You are encouraged to interact with your classmates and to discuss
various design aspects of the projects and assignments. However, the
work you hand in must be your own. Blatant copying or sharing of
solutions or source code will result in an F in the course and
referral to the college administration. Also, be advised that the
operating system project changes from year-to-year. Therefore, past
"solutions" to the project are of questionable utility.
Taking care of your health
The best way to complete the OS class project is to make steady daily
progress. However, some students have the mistaken assumption that
they can simply finish each part of the project a couple of days
before the deadline in some kind of frantic coding marathon. This is
NOT a pretty sight! Aside from the obvious loss of sleep,
waiting to the last minute has caused some students to suffer from
repetitive stress injuries. Don't let this happen to you.
- Don't try to do the project all at once---work on it a little bit
each day. You will be surprised at how easy it is when you are
well-rested and you aren't working against the deadline all of the
- Take frequent breaks. Walk around. Get some fresh air. Think
about the project away from the computer for awhile.
- Let your project partner do their fair share of the work. Don't
hog the terminal and be the one who does all of the typing.
- If you see someone slouched over a terminal, give them a dope slap
and tell them to sit up straight and get on with it.
Where to go for help
Operating systems is traditionally one of the most challenging
computer science courses. Do not hesistate to see me or the
TAs if you have any problems or concerns. Our goal is to make sure
that you succeed in this class.