USC CSD Home
 

Operating Systems - CSCI 402, Spring 2016, All Sections

Click here to see a PREVIEW of important rules.

This is an undergraduate course on computer operating systems. (Although this course is for graduate students! 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!) 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.)
  MW Section (29971D) AM Section (30331D) DEN Section (29945D+29946D)
Time MW 12:00pm - 1:50pm  TT 9:30am - 10:50am  TT 11:00am - 12:20pm 
Location ZHS 252  SOS B46  OHE 132 
TA Muhammad Rizwan Saeed, E-mail: <saeedm@usc.edu>
Office Hours: Wed 12:30pm - 1:30pm in EEB 226
Yue Shi, E-mail: <yueshi@usc.edu>
Office Hours: Tue/Thu 3:30pm - 4:30pm in EEB 224
Sung-Han Lin, E-mail: <sunghan@usc.edu>
Office Hours: Tue/Thu 1:30pm - 2:30pm in SAL open lab (in front of SAL 126)
Course Producer
Rahulkumar Mishra <rmishra@usc.edu>, Helpdesk Hours: Thu 4:00pm - 6:00pm in SAL open lab (in front of SAL 126)
Graders
Hongtai Cao, E-mail: <hongtaic@usc.edu>
Jiafeng Ni, E-mail: <jiafengn@usc.edu>
Aditya Joshi, E-mail: <adityaj@usc.edu>
(The grader will hold office hours the week after the announcement of each assignment's grades.)
Midterm Exam during class time, Wed, 3/23/2016 (firm) during class time, Thu, 3/24/2016 (firm) during class time, Thu, 3/24/2016 (firm)
Final Exam 11am-1pm, Fri, 5/6/2016 (firm). 8am-10am, Tue, 5/10/2016 (firm), in SLH 200,  (SLH is located in section 6C of the campus map). 11am-1pm, Tue, 5/10/2016 (firm), in SGM 124,  (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 1/13/2016.
 
News
(in reversed chronological order)
  • 4/29/2016: 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 6 of Lecture 17 to the last slide of Lecture 30 (including the discussion section slides), PLUS anything about Ch 5 in lectures 13, 14 and 15 (i.e., from slide 39 of Lecture 13 to slide 34 of Lecture 15).

    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 29 (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

  • 4/28/2016: The discussion section today is moved to 2:00-3:00pm (due to a meeting I have to attend which starts at 12:30pm). Sorry about the inconvenience.


  • 3/29/2016: The discussion section this Thursday (3/31/2016) is canceled (due to a meeting I have to attend which starts at 12:30pm and I'm doing CS 531 midterm regrade afterwards). I'm making it up by extending this Wednesday's office by one hour (from 2pm to 4pm). Sorry about the inconvenience.

  • 3/7/2016: 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 5 of Lecture 17 on 3/7&8/2016, 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 6 through 12 of Lecture 17 on 3/7&8/2016. 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

  • 3/2/2016: The discussion section this Thursday (3/3/2016) is moved to 2:00-3:00pm (due to a meeting I have to attend which starts at 12:30pm). Sorry about the inconvenience.

  • 2/3/2016: The discussion section this Thursday (2/4/2016) is moved to 2:30-3:30pm (due to a meeting I have to attend which starts at 12:30pm). Sorry about the inconvenience.

  • 1/13/2016: Unfortunately, I will have to go to court tomorrow (Thursday, 1/14/2016)! Classes and office hours will be canceled tomorrow. I will record a make-up lecture on DEN.

  • 1/12/2016: I won't need to go to court tomorrow (Wednesday, 1/13/2016)! Classes will be held normally tomorrow.

  • 1/11/2016: I won't need to go to court tomorrow (Tuesday, 1/12/2016)! Classes will be held normally tomorrow.

  • 1/9/2016: Unfortunately, I'm on standby for jury duty during the first week of classes this semester. I will only know if I need to go to court the night before. At this point, I know that I will not have to go to court on Monday, 1/11/2016. I will post a news item here every night this week so you know if the lecture on the next day is canceled or not. During the first week of classes, you should check this web page every day! If I have to cancel a lecture, I will find a way make up the lecture soon after.

  • 1/4/2016:
    • 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.)

    • Please do not send request to join the class Google Group until 1/13/2016.

    • Although CSCI 402 is an undergraduate course, these sections are for graduate students only. If you are an ungraduate student, please check with your adviser to see which Operating System class you need to take.

    • 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.)

    • Watch this area for important announcements.
 
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. Therefore, you should install Ubuntu 12.04 on your laptop or desktop, if you have one. 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.

If a student signs up 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 Fri Apr 29 2016]    [Please see copyright regarding copying.]