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Operating Systems - CSCI 402, Spring 2017, 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.)
  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  GFS 116  OHE 122 
TA Rizwan Saeed, E-mail: <saeedm@usc.edu>
Office Hours: Wed 3:00pm - 4:00pm in EEB 234
Yue Shi, E-mail: <yueshi@usc.edu>
Office Hours: Tue/Thu 2:30pm - 3:30pm in SAL open lab (in front of SAL 126)
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
Nishit Kaushik Shah <nishitks@usc.edu>, Helpdesk Hours: Mon/Wed 5:00pm - 7:00pm and Fri 2:30pm - 4:30pm in SAL open lab (in front of SAL 126)
Graders
Shimin Yang, E-mail: <shiminya@usc.edu>
Rashmi Jain, E-mail: <rashmij@usc.edu>
Chujun Geng, E-mail: <chujunge@usc.edu>
(The grader will hold office hours the week after the announcement of each assignment's grades.)
Midterm Exam during class time, Wed, 3/22/2017 (firm) in MHP 101 (MHP is located in section 7D of the campus map) during class time, Thu, 3/23/2017 (firm) during class time, Thu, 3/23/2017 (firm)
Final Exam (NEW) 11am-1pm, Fri, 5/5/2017 (firm), in THH 116 and 118,  (THH is located in section 4E of the campus map). 8am-10am, Tue, 5/9/2017 (firm). (NEW) 11am-1pm, Tue, 5/9/2017 (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 after the first lecture.
 
News
(in reversed chronological order)
  • 5/9/2017:
    • Below is the grade normalization information for kernel3. If you are graded by Chujun Geng <chujunge@usc.edu>, his kernel3 average was 104.48 with a standard deviation of 19.93. If you are graded by Rashmi Jain <rashmij@usc.edu>, her kernel3 average was 102.96 with a standard deviation of 11.31. If you are graded by Bill Cheng <bill.cheng@usc.edu>, his kernel3 average was 102.60 with a standard deviation of 16.60. The overall average for kernel3 was 103.34 with a standard deviation of 16.19.

      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 103.34+Y*16.19 (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.


  • 4/27/2017: 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 80 of MW Lecture 12 or slide 32 of TT Lecture 13 to slide 24 of Lecture 15 PLUS from slide 1 of Lecture 17 to the last slide of Lecture 30. 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 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 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

  • 4/21/2017:
    • Below is the grade normalization information for kernel2. If you are graded by Chujun Geng <chujunge@usc.edu>, his kernel2 average was 103.26 with a standard deviation of 11.44. If you are graded by Rashmi Jain <rashmij@usc.edu>, her kernel2 average was 107.01 with a standard deviation of 6.71. If you are graded by Shimin Yang <shiminya@usc.edu>, his kernel2 average was 108.60 with a standard deviation of 4.88. The overall average for kernel2 was 106.32 with a standard deviation of 8.42.

      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 106.32+Y*8.42 (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.


  • 4/19/2017:
    • The office hour tomorrow (4/20/2017) is cut short and will only go from 12:30pm to 1pm because I have to leave campus at 1pm. Sorry about the inconvenience and short notice.

  • 3/24/2017:
    • Below is the grade normalization information for kernel1. If you are graded by Chujun Geng <chujunge@usc.edu>, his kernel1 average was 100.71 with a standard deviation of 10.58. If you are graded by Rashmi Jain <rashmij@usc.edu>, her kernel1 average was 105.36 with a standard deviation of 5.21. If you are graded by Shimin Yang <shiminya@usc.edu>, his kernel1 average was 105.71 with a standard deviation of 6.79. The overall average for kernel1 was 103.96 with a standard deviation of 8.15.

      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 103.96+Y*8.15 (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.


  • 3/17/2017:
    • I forgot again to post the grade normalization information for warmup2. If you are graded by Chujun Geng <chujunge@usc.edu>, his warmup2 average was 96.98 with a standard deviation of 12.99. If you are graded by Rashmi Jain <rashmij@usc.edu>, her warmup2 average was 96.90 with a standard deviation of 15.10. If you are graded by Shimin Yang <shiminya@usc.edu>, his warmup2 average was 95.40 with a standard deviation of 22.06. The overall average for warmup2 was 96.43 with a standard deviation of 17.13.

      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 96.43+Y*17.13 (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.


  • 3/13/2017: 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 86 of Lecture 16 on 3/1,2/2017, 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 3/6,7/2017. 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

  • 3/5/2017:
    • The office hour this coming Tuesday (3/7/2017) is moved to 2:00-3:00pm because I have a committee meeting from 12:30pm to 2:00pm. Sorry about the inconvenience.

  • 2/20/2017:
    • I forgot to post the grade normalization information for warmup1. If you are graded by Chujun Geng <chujunge@usc.edu>, his warmup1 average was 100.89 with a standard deviation of 10.23. If you are graded by Rashmi Jain <rashmij@usc.edu>, her warmup1 average was 98.73 with a standard deviation of 15.50. If you are graded by Shimin Yang <shiminya@usc.edu>, his warmup1 average was 93.87 with a standard deviation of 23.18. The overall average for warmup1 was 97.84 with a standard deviation of 17.37.

      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 97.25+Y*19.06 (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.


  • 2/14/2017:
    • The office hour today is moved to 1:30-2:30pm because I have a committee meeting from 12:30pm to 1:30pm. 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 and the short notice.

  • 1/23/2017:
    • The office hour tomorrow (1/24/2017) is moved to 2:00-3:00pm because I have a committee meeting from 12:30pm to 2:00pm. Sorry about the inconvenience and the short notice.

  • 1/9/2017:
    • The office hour tomorrow (1/10/2017) is moved to 1:30-2:30pm because I have a committee meeting from 12:30pm to 1:30pm. 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 and the short notice.

  • 12/21/2016:
    • 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 mentioned on the PREVIEW web page.)

    • 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.)

    • 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 May 15 2017]    [Please see copyright regarding copying.]