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.
My actual CS 402 class web site for Spring 2016 is not ready yet.
Since many students are registering now, I felt that I
should post some important rules about my sections so students can know what to expect and register accordingly.
I tend to be a stickler to rules, so there will be no exceptions.
(In general, I'm bound by my own written rules and I have to stick to them.)
- DEN lecture videos will be made accessiable to all of the non-DEN sections.
- You must take all the exams in the section for which you are registered.
- The dates and times for the final exams are deteremined by the university and there is absolutely
no way to change them for you. If you know that you cannot come to the final exam for a particular
section, do not register for that section because I will not change the date or time of your final exam.
- Up to 4 students per team will be permitted but no more.
- All members of a team must be registered in the same lecture section.
You will not be permitted to have a teammate who is registered in a different section.
(Which discussion section you are in would not matter.)
- If you are already registered in one section and would like to switch to another section
because your kernel assignment partners are there,
I'm sorry that there is no way to do that. You can either unregister yourself and get on the
wait list of another section, or stay in your current section and look for other kernel assignment partners.
- Even though you are on the wait list and there is no guarantee that you will get in,
if you intend to take this class, you are expected to attend every lecture and
submit all assignments on time (i.e., same deadlines as students who are already registered).
So, even if you get in on Friday of the 3rd week of classes, you will be expected to turn in warmup #1 by late night that Friday.
- You can earn up to 4% extra credit for class participation. But you will only
earn extra credit if you attend the lectures and discussion sections for which you are registered.
(It's perfectly fine if you sit in another lecture or discussion section and you don't need prior approval.
You just won't get class participation extra credit if you do that.)
For students registered in the DEN section (i.e., section 29946D),
you get the participation extra credit automatically (i.e., without signing roll sheets).
- The recommended preparation for this class are (1) CSCI 201L or CSCI 455x, and (2) EE 357 or EE 352L.
Basically, you should know how to program and you should know what's inside a processor/CPU and
how it works (i.e., how it executes machine instructions).
- The programming assignments of this class will be very demanding (kernel 3 will be extremely difficult and very very time-consuming).
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 C-strings (i.e., null-terminated array of characters)
using functions such as strchr, strrchr, strlen, strcmp, strncpy, etc.
You also need to know how to perform console and file I/O in C
using functions such as read/write, printf/snprintf, fread/fwrite,
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.
If you are not good with programming in C and you want to get prepared for
this class, you can start by implementing some basic data structures and algorithms.
For example, read a file of integers, sort them in a linked list, and sort the
linked list using selection sort, bubble sort, insertion sort, merge sort, and
quick sort is a good place to start. To practice file I/O and string manipulation,
you can change the file of integers to lines of text and parse the lines into fields
(e.g., separated by semi-colons or tabs) then sort the lines based on a particular
field and print the sorted records. You must understand what a memory address
is and what it means to store the address of a data structure into a pointer data type
(e.g., in forming a linked list). You then need to be able to follow pointers to traverse a linked list.
Please take a look at my review on pointers and make sure you understand everything there.
Finally, you need to learn to use gdb
to examine memory locations and debug your program.
- You must know how to use Unix/Linux. If you are not familiar with Unix/Linux,
you must learn it on your own. We will not teach you how to use Unix/Linux in this class.
If you are not familiar with Unix/Linux, I strongly urge you to read
Unix for the Beginning Mage (by Joe Topjian)
before the semester starts.
You should also get familiar with the Unix/Linux development environment (vi/pico/emacs, cc/gcc, make, etc.)
If you don't have access to a Unix/Linux machine, you can install your own.
Our kernel programming assignments must run on Ubuntu 12.04. Therefore, you
might as well install Ubuntu 12.04 on your laptop or desktop as soon as
You should learn how to use the Terminal program to compile, run, and debug programs.
It's probably a good idea to also learn how to use a text editor (such as vi, emacs, or nano) to create and edit C program source code.
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.
- (Jan 11, 2016) - first day of class
- (Jan 18, 2016) - Martin Luther King Day, university holiday
- (Jan 29, 2016) - warmup1 due
- (Feb 15, 2016) - Presidents' Day, university holiday
- (Feb 19, 2016) - warmup2 due
- (Mar 11, 2016) - kernel1 due
- (Mar 14-18, 2016) - Spring recess
- (Mar 23, 2016) - midterm for MW section (firm) DEN/PM (MW) sections (firm)
- (Mar 24, 2016) - midterm for AM/DEN (TT) sections (firm)
- (Apr 8, 2016) - kernel2 due
- (Apr 29, 2016) - kernel3 due
- (May 6, 2016) - MW final exam, 11am - 1pm (firm)
- (May 10, 2016) - AM (TT) final exam, 8am - 10am (firm)
- (May 10, 2016) - DEN (TT) final exam, 11am - 1pm (firm)