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Operating Systems - CSCI 402, Summer 2016

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.)
Time TuTh 10:00am - 11:55am 
Location OHE 136 
TA Sung-Han Lin, E-mail: <sunghan@usc.edu>
Office Hours: MW 11:00am - 12:00pm in SAL open lab (in front of SAL 126)
Grader Sebastian Gomez Velasco, E-mail: <gomezvel@usc.edu>.
Midterm Exam during class, 10am-11:20am, Tue, 7/5/2016 (firm), in SGM 124,  (SGM is located in section 4B of the campus map).
Final Exam 10am-11:55am, Tue, 8/2/2016 (firm), in SGM 101,  (SGM is located in section 4B of the campus map).
 
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)
  • 7/28/2016: 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 5 of Lecture 13 to the last slide of Lecture 21 (including the discussion section slides), PLUS anything about Ch 5 in lectures 10 and 11 (i.e., from slide 11 of Lecture 10 to slide 69 of Lecture 11).

    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 21 (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 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

  • 7/4/2016:
    • Since tomorrow's midterm will end at 11:20am, I'm moving the discussion section (Tuesday, 7/5/2016) to 12-1pm. Sorry about the inconvenience.

  • 6/23/2016: 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 73 of Lecture 12 on 6/23/2016, 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 77 through 81 of Lecture 12 on 6/23/2016. Regarding regrade policy, please see the Regrade section of the course description web page.

    Here is a quick summary of the 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

  • 6/20/2016:
    • The discussion section tomorrow (Tuesday, 6/21/2016) is moved to 12-1pm because I have to leave campus at 1pm. Sorry about the inconvenience and short notice.

  • 6/14/2016:
    • The discussion section today is moved to 12-1pm because I have to leave campus at 1pm. Sorry about the inconvenience and short notice.

  • 6/8/2016:
    • The TA is out of town this week and his office hours were canceled this Monday and Wednesday. He will be back in time to lead the discussion section this Friday. He will also have an office hour from 11am to 12pm this Friday. Sorry about the inconvenience.

  • 6/6/2016:
    • Office hour this Tuesday (6/7/2016) is moved to 12-1pm because I have to leave campus at 1pm. Sorry about the inconvenience.


  • 5/28/2016:
    • Starting next Tuesday (5/31/2016), my office hours will be 12:30pm - 1:30pm (still on Tu/Th).

  • 5/24/2016:
    • The discussion section today will end at 12:45pm. Sorry about the inconvenience and short notice.
    • Apparently, we did not get moved to OHE 122! We are back at OHE 136 until further notice. Sorry about the mixed up.

  • 5/19/2016:
    • We got a new class room! Starting next week, lectures will be in OHE 122.
    • In case you did not hear the user ID and password for accessing protected area of this web site during the first lecture, 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.)

  • 5/17/2016:
    • Watch this area for important announcements.
    • 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 Thu Jul 28 2016]    [Please see copyright regarding copying.]