Schedule

The schedule below shows the tentative dates for all class topics, readings, and assignments. You should complete all assigned reading before class on the day it is listed. Labs will be available shortly before the assigned lab day. There may be some revisions to the schedule during the semester, but I will make sure to announce these changes in class. If you view this page with JavaScript enabled you can jump to the current week on the schedule, and you should see the next day of class highlighted in the schedule below.

Week 0
F
Aug 26

Introduction

We’ll begin the course by discussing operating systems generally. What is an OS? What is its job? How does it work? We’ll also spend some time thinking about how we learn and the elements of this course that are meant to facilitate your learning.

Reading
Week 1
M
Aug 29

C Practice

We’ll spend today’s class practicing C programming. We’ll also discuss standards for coding style, comments, and other guidelines you’ll be expected to follow for all assignments and labs in this class.


W
Aug 31

Processes and System Calls

Today we’ll discuss a key OS abstraction: the process. We’ll talk about why and how we use processes on Linux.

Reading

F
Sep 2

Debugging Practice

Today we will practice using gdb to track down bugs in C programs.

Reading
Week 2
M
Sep 5

Address Spaces and Memory

Address spaces are an important abstraction that makes it possible for the OS to run processes in isolation. We’ll look at the high-level idea of an address space, learn about how you interact with address spaces in code, and discuss some of the basic mechanisms that an OS can use to implement address spaces.

Reading
Tu
Sep 6

Work Due

Reading

No reading

W
Sep 7

Lab Day: Shell

In today’s lab you will implement a shell, the program that runs in a terminal window. Shells make it possible for users to interact with an operating system, so building your own will give you a chance to practice writing code to communicate with the OS. You’ll also get to practice dealing with user input in C.

Reading
  • Review lab before class
Assigned

F
Sep 9

Segmentation and Paging

Today we will look in detail at two real mechanisms that the OS uses to create address spaces.

Reading
Week 3
M
Sep 12

Memory Errors, Virtual Memory continued

We’ll use today’s class to think carefully about the types of memory errors a program can have. We’ll catch up on any aspects of virtual memory we didn’t get to in the previous days.

Reading

W
Sep 14

Lab Day: Virtual Memory

Today’s lab will test your understanding of address spaces and the memory API. You’ll take advantage of Linux’s address space features to write some interesting and useful code.

Reading
  • Review lab before class
Assigned Due

F
Sep 16

Swapping

One important use of virtual memory that goes beyond simply isolating processes from each other is swapping. This makes it possible for an OS to run programs that don’t fit in the amount of memory on the system. We’ll look at why this is useful and how it works.

Reading
Week 4
M
Sep 19

Virtual Memory Wrap-Up

We’ll conclude our discussion of virtual memory by looking at the complete VM system from malloc down to disk space. This broader view leads us to some interesting applications of virtual memory, as well as some important security issues.

Reading
Assigned
  • Assignment 4

W
Sep 21

Lab Day: Memory Allocator

Today’s lab will be one of the most challenging of the semester. You’ll use your new understanding of virtual memory and the memory API to implement a memory allocator, the code that provides malloc and free for other programs.

Reading
Th
Sep 22

Work Due

Reading

No reading

Due
F
Sep 23

Files and Directories

Reading
Week 5
M
Sep 26

Filesystems

Today we’ll begin looking at how an operating system can store users’ files and directories on a disk, and how that storage can be made reliable.

Reading

W
Sep 28

Lab Working Day

You’ll have time during class today to continue working on your malloc implementations.

Reading

No reading


F
Sep 30

Filesystems, Continued

This class gives us a chance to wrap up our discussion of filesystems. If we’re on schedule there will be some additional readings about filesystems, otherwise we’ll just use the time to wrap up topics from Monday’s class.

Reading
  • Review FSCK and Journaling reading assigned on Monday
Week 6
M
Oct 3

CPU Scheduling

We’ve seen how we can support multiple programs running on a single machine with processes and address spaces, but how does the OS decide which one to run at any given time? This is the job of the CPU scheduler. We’ll look at a few scheduling algorithms and discuss their advantages and drawbacks.

Reading

W
Oct 5

Lab Day: Worm

Today’s lab will require that you use your new understanding of CPU scheduling to write a scheduler for a console game. The game, a clone of the classic Snake game, is composed of a series of tasks. You will build the system that tracks these tasks and executes them at the appropriate times.

Reading
  • Review lab before class
Assigned Due

F
Oct 7

CPU Scheduling, Continued

Reading
Week 7
M
Oct 10

Threads

While processes make it possible to run multiple programs on a single machine, sometimes we might like a single program to do multiple tasks at a time. Threads make it possible for a single process to run multiple operations concurrently. We’ll look at why threads are useful, how to create and interact with threads in Linux, and what makes thread programming particularly challenging.

Reading

W
Oct 12

Lab Day: Password Cracker

For today’s lab, you will solve an embarassingly parallel problem using threads. An embarassingly parallel problem is one that is easy to distribute over multiple threads.

Reading
  • Review lab before class
Assigned Due

F
Oct 14

Threads, Continued

We’ll continue our introduction to threads, practice writing some parallel code, and begin to look at where things can go wrong in concurrent programs.

Reading

No reading

Fall Break
Week 8
M
Oct 24

Introduction to GPUs

Today we will learn how to use graphics processing units (GPUs) to write parallel programs that, when carefully designed, can run tens or hundreds of times faster than parallel programs that use threads on conventional processors.


W
Oct 26

Introduction to GPUs, Continued

Reading

No reading


F
Oct 28

Lab Day: GPU Sudoku Solver

This week’s lab will require you to implement a parallel computation that can run on a GPU. This computation will be part of a larger system that uses the GPU as a co-processor, a common model for modern workloads.

Reading
  • Review lab before class
Week 9
M
Oct 31

Synchronization with Locks

We’ll build on our understanding of threads from the previous class and look at how we can use locks to control concurrent accesses to data structures.

Reading

W
Nov 2

Condition Variables and Semaphores

While locks are important for guaranteeing mutual exclusion, they aren’t the only tool available for controlling concurrency. We’ll look at two additional concurrency control primitives today and see how they can help us write interesting concurrent programs.

Reading

F
Nov 4

Concurrency Bugs

Today we will look at the kinds of bugs that concurrent programs can have, and think about how to design a concurrent program to avoid these bugs.

Reading
Week 10
M
Nov 7

Distributed Systems

One of the most interesting and challenging problems computer science is designing and implementing systems that work reliably across multiple machines. We’ll look at what makes this problem difficult and explore some of the interesting techniques that make it possible to build distributed systems that work well.

Reading

W
Nov 9

Networking Exercise, Continued

Reading

No reading

Due

F
Nov 11

Lab Day: Peer-to-Peer Chat

This week’s lab will combine your experience with networks and distributed systems. You will implement a small distributed system using some of the techniques we’ve seen in class.

Reading

No reading

Week 11
M
Nov 14

Introduction to the Project

Reading
Assigned
  • Project Proposal

W
Nov 16

Lab Working Day

You’ll have time during class today to continue your work on the p2pchat lab

Reading

No reading


F
Nov 18

Class Canceled

Reading

No reading

Week 12
M
Nov 21

Project Proposal Working Day

Reading

No reading


W
Nov 23

Event-Based Concurrency

We will look at another mechanism for writing concurrent programs where the primary work being done concurrently is I/O. This is a common model for software that interacts with networks, large files, or users.

Reading
Due
  • Project Proposal (by 11:59pm)
Week 13
M
Nov 28

Special Topic: Memory Errors and Security

Writing secure software is incredibly important, especially when you’re writing OS-level code in a language like C. We’ll work through three security exercises as a class today. This won’t make you an expert in secure programming with C, but hopefully you’ll think about the vulnerabilities we discuss when you find yourself writing important code in the future.


W
Nov 30

Project Working Day

Reading

No reading


F
Dec 2

Special Topic: Memory Errors and Security, continued

We’ll continue the memory errors and security activity from Monday’s class.

Reading

No reading

Due
Week 14
Su
Dec 4

Work Due

Reading

No reading

M
Dec 5

Discussion: UNIX and Worse is Better

In today’s class we’ll look back at a particularly influential systems project—the UNIX operating system. Dennis Ritchie wrote an interesting description of some of the basic features of UNIX and how they came about. We’ll combine that with Richard Gabriel’s commentary on two distinct approaches to system building, and how they fare over time.

Reading

W
Dec 7

Project Working Day

Reading

No reading


F
Dec 9

Wrap Up

Reading

No reading

Finals Week
F
Dec 16

Project Presentations (2–5 PM)

Reading

No reading

Due
  • Complete Project