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Operating Systems - CSCI 402, Fall 2016, All Sections

Click here to see a PREVIEW of important rules that was posted before the summer session started.

This is an undergraduate course on computer operating systems. (But only graduate students are permitted to be in this class. USC undergraduate students must take CS 350 in order to get credit for OS. If you are an undergraduate student, you cannnot be in this class and you cannot get credit for Operating System if you take this class. Please check with your adviser to see which Operating System class you need to take!) In addition to exploring concepts such as synchronization, virtual memory, processes, file systems and virtualization, students will develop elements of a fairly complete operating system during the course of the semester.

 
General Information
Instructor Bill Cheng (click to see office hours)
E-mail: <bill.cheng@usc.edu>.  (Please do not send HTML-only e-mails. They will not be read.)
  DEN Section (29945D+29946D) PM Section (30243D) TT Section (30203D)
Time MW 10:00am - 11:50am  MW 12:00pm - 1:50pm  TT 9:30am - 10:50am 
Location OHE 122  KAP 163  KDC 235 
TA Sung-Han Lin, E-mail: <sunghan@usc.edu>
Office Hours: Tue/Thu 1:00pm - 2:00pm in SAL open lab (in front of SAL 126)
Rizwan Saeed, E-mail: <saeedm@usc.edu>
Office Hours: Mon 4:30pm - 5:30pm in EEB 234
Giovanni Sutanto, E-mail: <gsutanto@usc.edu>
Office Hours: Tue/Thu 2:00pm - 3:00pm in RTH 422
Graders
Sebastian Gomez Velasco, E-mail: <gomezvel@usc.edu>
Kiran Kumar Budnar Venkatesh, E-mail: <budnarve@usc.edu>
(The grader will hold office hours the week after the announcement of each assignment's grades.)
Midterm Exam during class time, Wed, 10/26/2016 (firm) during class time, Wed, 10/26/2016 (firm) during class time, Thu, 10/27/2016 (firm)
Final Exam 8am-10am, Mon, 12/12/2016 (firm). 11am-1pm, Fri, 12/9/2016 (firm). 11am-1pm, Thu, 12/8/2016 (firm).
 
Class Resources
Description   :   textbooks, topics covered, grading policies, additional resources, etc.
Lectures   :   information about lectures (and lectures slides in PDF format).
Videos   :   information about DEN lectures and discussion sections videos.
Discussions   :   information about discussion sections.
Projects   :   programming assignments (please also see important information about the class projects below.)
Participation   :   rules about roll calls.
Newsgroup   :   Google Group for discussing course materials and programming assignments. You are required to be a member of this group. (This group is by invitation only.) Please do not send request to join this group until after the first lecture.
 
News
(in reversed chronological order)
  • 12/12/2016:
    • Here is the grade normalization information for kernel3.

      For kernel3 graded by Sebastian Gomez Velasco, his average was 89.04 with a standard deviation of 25.88. For kernel3 graded by Kiran Kumar Budnar Venkatesh, his average was 96.16 with a standard deviation of 20.27. The overall average for kernel3 was 92.35 with a standard deviation of 23.70.

      To figure out your normalized score for kernel3, here's what you can do. If your score is X and your grader's average is A with a standard deviation of D, then Y=(X-A)/D is how many standard deviations away from your grader's average. Therefore, your normalized score would be 92.35+Y*23.70 (i.e., same number of standard deviation away from the overall class average). Your minimum score is still one point if you have submitted something for grading.


  • 12/1/2016: The final exam will be closed book, closed notes, and closed everything (and no "cheat sheet"). Also, no calculators, cell phones, or any electronic gadgets are allowed. Please bring a photo ID. Your ID will be collected at the beginning of the exam and will be returned to you when you turn in your exam. There will be assigned seating.

    The final exam will cover everything from slide 1 of Lecture 17 to the last slide of Lecture 30, PLUS anything about Ch 5 in lectures 12 through 15 (i.e., from slide 42 of Lecture 12 to slide 15 of Lecture 15). Also included are discussion section slides from Week 9 through Week 14.

    Regarding what types of questions will be on the exam, please see the Exams section of the course description web page. Regarding regrade policy, please see the Regrade section of the course description web page.

    Please note that if you are asked to run the Stride Scheduling algorithm, to get any credit, you must run the one described in Lecture 30 (and not the one in the textbook).

    Since the 2nd part of the course depends on stuff covered by the midterm, I cannot say that I will not ask anything covered by the midterm and you do need to know the material covered by the midterm. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to say that the final exam will focus on the material not covered by the midterm.

    Here is a quick summary of the final exam topics (not all topics covered may be listed):

    • Ch 3 - Basic Concepts
      • shared libraries
    • Ch 4 - Operating-System Design
      • devices
      • virtual machines, microkernels
    • Ch 5 - Processor Management
      • threads implementations
      • interrupts
      • scheduling
    • Ch 6 - File Systems
      • the basics of file systems
      • performance improvements
      • crash resiliency
      • directories and naming
      • RAID, flash memory, case studies
    • Ch 7 - Memory Management
      • virtual memory
      • OS issues
    • Kernel assignments 2 & 3
      • spec
      • FAQ
      • my posts to class Google Group

  • 11/21/2016:
    • Here is the grade normalization information for kernel2.

      For kernel2 graded by Sebastian Gomez Velasco, his average was 101.84 with a standard deviation of 10.68. For kernel2 graded by Kiran Kumar Budnar Venkatesh, his average was 103.90 with a standard deviation of 11.47. The overall average for kernel2 was 102.84 with a standard deviation of 11.12.

      To figure out your normalized score for kernel2, here's what you can do. If your score is X and your grader's average is A with a standard deviation of D, then Y=(X-A)/D is how many standard deviations away from your grader's average. Therefore, your normalized score would be 102.84+Y*11.12 (i.e., same number of standard deviation away from the overall class average). Your minimum score is still one point if you have submitted something for grading.


  • 11/20/2016:
    • The office hour this coming Tuesday (11/22/2016) is canceled because I have to leave campus at 11am. Sorry about the inconvenience.

  • 11/7/2016:
    • The office hour tomorrow (11/8/2016) is moved to 1:30-2:30pm because I have a committee meeting from 12pm to 1:30pm. As before, I don't know if the committee meeting will end on time. If I'm not at my office at 1:30pm, please just wait outside my office for a few minutes. Sorry about the inconvenience.

  • 11/1/2016:
    • Here is the grade normalization information for kernel1.

      For kernel1 graded by Sebastian Gomez Velasco, his average was 100.04 with a standard deviation of 9.45. For kernel1 graded by Kiran Kumar Budnar Venkatesh, his average was 105.53 with a standard deviation of 9.93. The overall average for kernel1 was 102.55 with a standard deviation of 10.05.

      To figure out your normalized score for kernel1, here's what you can do. If your score is X and your grader's average is A with a standard deviation of D, then Y=(X-A)/D is how many standard deviations away from your grader's average. Therefore, your normalized score would be 102.55+Y*10.05 (i.e., same number of standard deviation away from the overall class average). Your minimum score is still one point if you have submitted something for grading.


  • 10/19/2016: The midterm exam will be closed book, closed notes, and closed everything (and no "cheat sheet"). Also, no calculators, cell phones, or any electronic gadgets are allowed. Please bring a photo ID. Your ID will be collected at the beginning of the exam and will be returned to you when you turn in your exam. There will be assigned seating.

    The midterm exam will cover everything from the beginning of the semester to slide 45 of Lecture 16 on 10/12,13/2016, MINUS Chapter 5 (i.e., material in Ch 5 is excluded from the midterm).

    Regarding what types of questions will be on the midterm, please see the Exams section of the course description web page and slides 2 through 8 of Lecture 17 on 10/17,18/2016. Regarding regrade policy, please see the Regrade section of the course description web page.

    Here is a quick summary of the midterm exam topics (not all topics covered may be listed):

    • Ch 1 - Introduction
      • introduction
      • a simple OS
      • files
    • Ch 2 - Multithreaded Programming
      • thread creation, termination, synchronization
      • thread safety, deviations
    • Ch 3 - Basic Concepts
      • context switching, I/O
      • dynamic storage allocation
      • static linking and loading
      • booting
    • Ch 4 - Operating-System Design
      • a simple system
      • storage management
    • Warmup assignments 1 & 2
      • specs
      • FAQs
      • my posts to class Google Group
    • Kernel assignment 1
      • spec
      • FAQ
      • my posts to class Google Group

  • 10/18/2016:
    • Here is the grade normalization information for warmup2.

      If you are in the DEN section, your warmup2 was graded by Kiran Kumar Budnar Venkatesh and his warmup2 average was 84.02 with a standard deviation of 33.61. If you are in the PM or TT section, your warmup2 was graded by Sebastian Gomez Velasco and his warmup2 average was 85.62 with a standard deviation of 26.32. The overall average for warmup2 was 84.76 with a standard deviation of 30.47.

      To figure out your normalized score for warmup2, here's what you can do. If your score is X and your grader's average is A with a standard deviation of D, then Y=(X-A)/D is how many standard deviations away from your grader's average. Therefore, your normalized score would be 84.76+Y*30.47 (i.e., same number of standard deviation away from the overall class average). Your minimum score is still one point if you have submitted something for grading.


  • 10/12/2016:
    • I have a meeting tomorrow (Thursday, 10/13/2016) from 12:30pm to 2pm, so I am moving tomorrow's office hour to 11:30am-12:30pm. Sorry about the inconvenience.

  • 10/10/2016:
    • [BC: updated at 9pm on 10/10/2016] The office hour today is canceled because I have to leave campus at 2pm today. Tomorrow (Tuesday, 10/11/2016), I have a committee meeting from 12pm to 1:30pm, so I am moving tomorrow's office hour to 1:30-3:30pm, to make up for the lost office hour today. (I don't know if the committee meeting will end on time. If I'm not at my office at 1:30pm, please just wait outside my office for a few minutes.) Sorry about the inconvenience.


  • 9/28/2016:
    • I forgot to post the grade normalization information for warmup1. If you are in the DEN section, your warmup1 was graded by Sebastian Gomez Velasco and his warmup1 average was 90.82 with a standard deviation of 27.53. If you are in the PM or TT section, your warmup1 was graded by Kiran Kumar Budnar Venkatesh and his warmup1 average was 95.37 with a standard deviation of 25.23. The overall average for warmup1 was 92.93 with a standard deviation of 26.59.

      To figure out your normalized score for warmup1, here's what you can do. If your score is X and your grader's average is A with a standard deviation of D, then Y=(X-A)/D is how many standard deviations away from your grader's average. Therefore, your normalized score would be 92.93+Y*26.59 (i.e., same number of standard deviation away from the overall class average). Your minimum score is still one point if you have submitted something for grading.

      As I have mentioned in Lecture 1, although we assume that we have a bell-shaped curve, when your score is normalized, linear interpolation is used. It's clearly not perfect since the actual curve will never be bell-shaped and linear interpolation is not the same as bell-shaped-curve interpolation. But this is what was announced at the beginning of the semester, and therefore, we will stick to this particular way of normailzation for all the programming assignments for the rest of the semester.


  • 9/14/2016:
    • I'm not feeling too well today. So, I'm cutting today's office hour short. I'll be in my office between 2pm and 2:15pm. If no one is waiting to see me at 2:15pm, I will leave. Sorry about the inconvenience and short notice.

  • 9/13/2016:
    • The office hour today is moved to 11:30am-12:30pm because I have to leave campus at 12:30pm. Sorry about the inconvenience and short notice.

  • 8/27/2016:
    • I forgot to put down the following in writing, although I have mentioned it during Lecture 1. Since everyone gets the same warmup assignments, in the final grade calculation, I will also normalize your warmup scores (just like I would normalize your kernel scores). Please understand that I will not normalize exam scores since exams in different sections are different.

  • 8/23/2016:
    • Office hour tomorrow (Wednesday, 8/24/2016) is shortened by half an hour (will go from 2pm to 2:30pm) because I have to leave campus at 2:30pm. Sorry about the inconvenience.

  • 8/21/2016: To get user ID and password for accessing protected area of this web site, please visit the request access page after semester starts and submit the requested information. (You do not have to be registered for the course to get the password. You just need to have an USC e-mail address.)
  • 8/8/2016:
    • Watch this area for important announcements.

    • Please make sure you attend the section for which you are registered. Click here to see a PREVIEW of important rules. (It would be best if you are familiar with these rules before you register for a particular section of this class. If you are registered in the wrong section, it's best if you switch to the right section NOW because I will not change any of the important rules.)

    • Please do not send request to join the class Google Group until after the first lecture.
 
Prerequisites
In the official syllabus, it is listed that the prerequisites are:
(CSCI 201L or CSCI 455x) and (EE 357 or EE 352L)

Please see:

Apparently, they are the prerequisites for undergraduate students only. The CS department would waive these prerequisites for graduate students. Since undergraduate students are required to take CS 350 for OS credit, there should only be graduate students enrolled in CS 402. Therefore, these prerequisites are really not prerequisites. They should be considered recommended preparation for graduate students. The basic idea behind these prerequisites is that you are expected to know how to program and you are expected to know something about computer architecture (such as what the CPU does).
 
Important Information about Programming Assignments
The programming assignments of this class will be very demanding. You will be required to write C code. Since C is a proper subset of C++, knowing C++ well would give you enough background. However, some of the things that available in C++, such as strings and streams, are not be available in C. So, you need to know how to do things such as manipulating null-terminated array of characters (using functions such as strchr, strrchr, strlen, strcmp, strncpy, etc.) and performing console and file I/O (using functions such as printf/snprintf, fread/fwrite, read/write, fgets, etc.) in C. No other programming language will be accepted. We will not teach C in this class. You are expected to pick up C on your own if you are not familiar with it.

You should also get familiar with the Unix development environment (vi/pico/emacs, cc/gcc, make, etc.) You are expected to know how to use Unix. If you are not familiar with Unix, please read Unix for the Beginning Mage, a tutorial written by Joe Topjian. The kernel programming assignments must run on Ubuntu 12.04 or Ubuntu 14.04. Therefore, you should install Ubuntu 12.04 or Ubuntu 14.04 on your laptop or desktop as soon as possible. If you do not have a personal laptop or desktop that runs Windows or Mac OS X, please contact the instructor as soon as possible. Please note that starting with this summer, the preferred version of Ubuntu is Ubuntu 14.04 (unless you have a laptop with only 2GB of memory or a slow CPU, then you should install Ubuntu 12.04)

If a student registered late for this class or could not be present at the beginning of the semester, he/she is still required to turn all projects and homeworks on time or he/she will receive a score of 0 for these assignments. No exceptions!

 

[Last updated Mon Dec 12 2016]    [Please see copyright regarding copying.]