WPI Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Computer Science Department

Operating Systems

CS 3013 A-Term 2001

You will study the design and theory of multiprogrammed operating systems, concurrent processes, process communication, input/output devices, memory management, resource allocation and scheduling are studied. The intent is to familiarize you with OS theory past and present, while exposing them to some practical issues in OS implementation. Hence, part of the course deals with bookwork, part with implementation projects and part with OS research papers. Prerequisites are a working knowledge of common data structures such as stacks, queues, and linked lists; a knowledge of computer organization; a strong programming background; and an interest in learning about operating systems.


Course Information

Class information:
day: Mo, Tu, Th, Fr
time: 3:00pm - 3:50pm
place: FLAUD (Perrault Hall)

Professor: Mark Claypool
email: claypool@cs.wpi.edu
office hours: Mo 2-3, Th 2-3, Fr 2-3
place: Fuller Labs, room 138
phone: x5409

Teaching Assistant: Jae Chung
email: goos@cs.wpi.edu
office hours: Tu 10-12, We 10-11
place: Fuller Labs, room FL-B17 (in the Fossil lab)
phone: x6734

Teaching Assistant: Hari Kannan
email: harik@cs.wpi.edu
office hours: Mo 1:15 - 2:45, Tu 1:15 - 2:45
place: Fuller Labs, room FL-B17 (in the Fossil lab)
phone: x6734

Senior Assistant: Christopher Barratt
email: cbarratt@wpi.edu
office hours: Mo 4-5, Tu 4-5, Th 4-5
place: Fuller Labs, room FL-B17 (in the Fossil lab)
phone: x6734

Email aliases:
TAs + Prof: cs3013_ta@cs.wpi.edu
Class: cs3013@cs.wpi.edu
Fossil admin: fossil@cs.wpi.edu

Required Textbook:

Good Reference Textbooks:

Grading Policy

Final grades will be computed as follows:

Final grades will reflect the extent to which you have demonstrated understanding of the material, and completed the assigned projects. The base level grade will be a "B" which indicates that the basic objectives on assignments and exams have been met. A grade of "A" will indicate significant achievement beyond the basic objectives and a grade of "C" will indicate not all basic objectives were met, but work was satisfactory for credit. No incomplete grades will be assigned unless there exist exceptional, extenuating circumstances. Similarly, no makeup exams will be given unless there exist exceptional, extenuating circumstances.


There will be two in-class exams. The first is roughly mid-way through the semester and the second is during the last week. There is a remote possibility of a pop quiz for which no advance notice will be provided. Exams will be closed book and closed notes, unless otherwise indicated. The majority of each exam will cover basic ideas and objectives of the class with a few questions testing additional understanding and insight.

Late Policy

Late anything will be be penalized 10% of total assignment value per day (with the weekend counting as one day) or partial day, and no assignments will be accepted after seven days beyond the due date. All assignments are due at the start of class on the due date. Projects will be submitted as directed in class. Exceptions to these rules can be made only beforehand.


Here is the list of topics covered in this course:

The reading material for the various chapters, laid out roughly as it is presented in class, is as follows (updated as we progress):

You should check out the assignment timeline to help you plan for doing homeworks, projects and exams.


Slides from the in-class lectures will be available shortly after they are presented, depending upon how things go. Here is what we have so far:

Admin pdf ppt
Intro pdf ppt
Processes pdf ppt
Process Scheduling pdf ppt
Process Synchronization pdf ppt
Threads pdf ppt
Memory Management pdf ppt
Virtual Memory pdf ppt
I/O Devices pdf ppt
Review - ppt


There are 3-4 short homework assignments. Homeworks are to be turned in individually. Discussion of problems among students is encouraged, but when it comes to ultimately solving the problem, your answers must be your own.

Homework and due-dates will be placed here as they are defined. Here is what we have so far:


The projects (I often call them labs) are the programming assignments you will have for the course. You must work in groups of 2 for the projects. Within the first week, you must form groups and inform the TAs (cs3013_ta@cs.wpi.edu). Groups of 3 are possible, too. Working in groups will give you valuable ``real-world'' experience as well as provide you with a ``built-in'' source for help. Do remember, however, that all exams will be taken alone. Make sure each group member understands the programs completely!

Another constraint is that the laboratory you will use for the assignments has only 30 machines. Your group will be assigned a machine to use for the projects, although you can use alternate machines (when they are free) for browsing, etc. Note that each group will have priority on it's machine, even if others are using it. Please see the Fossil Web page for more information.

You will need to turn in your assignments on-line using turnin.

Projects and due-dates will be placed here as they are defined. Here is what we have so far:


In this section are any code samples discussed in class, practice exams or any other demonstration-type class materials.

Final exam stuff:

Mid-term stuff:

Here is a sample that uses shared memory:

Here are some samples showing the use of software signals:

Here are some sample programs concerning Unix Process stuff:

Here are some code samples of the SOS:


The Fossil Lab

Fresh from the minds of professors Claypool, Finkel and Wills comes the Free/Open Source Laboratory (aka the "Fossil lab"). The Fossil lab is funded under an NSF grant designed for laboratory use in the cs3013 (Operating Systems) and cs4513 (Distributed Computing Systems) courses. The lab includes 30 PC's running Linux on a dedicated network and a server running Linux for use as a router and firewall. Students using the Fossil lab have the opportunity to run experiments on a dedicated machine, do some kernel "hacking" and gain valuable system administration experience that is not possible in current CS laboratory environments.


Linux is a completely free Unix operating system. Linux runs primarily on 386/486/Pentium PC's, but has been ported to various other architectures. If you like Unix, want to learn more about system administration and have access to a PC, I recommend checking it out. Read a short info sheet or a more detailed info sheet for more information. You might also want to check out The Cathedral or the Bazaar, an interesting look at open source software development, such as Linux.

You might also try the Linux Source Navigator, a CGI interface to browse the entire Linux kernel source. The Navigator formats the raw source tree on-the-fly, using italics, bolds, colors and hyperlinks to present the source in a much more manageable format. Right now, there's just a 2.0.0 kernel set up to use i386 architecture, but more versions may be there shortly.

I, Cringely

A weekly column by Robert X. Cringely that provides a humorous but profound look at the world of Information Technology.
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Your text book mentions the Nachos System in the Appendix (pages 699-714). Although this system is too advanced for an intro course on operating systems, keen students may like to look further into the Nachos software.


Some useful course material (e.g. slides, notes, Java simulations, etc.) includes:

You can also have a look at the Yahoo! Operating Systems pages and related WWW pages:

Or perhaps you would like to know more about some of the companies involved in commercial Operating Systems:

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Mark Claypool (claypool@cs.wpi.edu)