WPI Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Computer Science Department

Operating Systems

CS 3013 C-Term 2001


Course Information

Professor: Mark Claypool
email: claypool@cs.wpi.edu
office hours: T 2-3, W 1:30-2:30, F 10-11
place: Fuller Labs, room 138
phone: x5409

Teaching Assistant: Hari Kannan
email: harik@cs.wpi.edu
office hours: M 5:30-7, W 5:30-7
place: Fuller Labs, room FL-B17 (in the Fossil lab)
phone: x6734

Teaching Assistant: Jae Chung
email: goos@cs.wpi.edu
office hours: T 3-4, Th 12-1, 4-5
place: Fuller Labs, room FL-B17 (in the Fossil lab)
phone: x6734

Teaching Assistant: Mukesh Mulchandani
email: mukesh@cs.wpi.edu
office hours: M 4:30 - 5:30, Th 5-7
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

More detailed information can be found here, including: time and place, purpose, prerequisites, books, grading, cheating, and


Here is the list of topics covered in this course. The mapping to chapters from the text may be modified as the course progresses.

The reading material for the various chapters, laid out roughly as it is presented in class, is as follows:

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
Inter-Process Communication pdf ppt
Parallel Systems and Threads pdf ppt
Memory Management pdf ppt
Virtual Memory pdf ppt
I/O Devices pdf ppt
Multimedia Support for Operating Systems pdf 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.

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 from the SOS:

Here is a nifty perl script that will help you clean up shared memory, message queue and semaphore system resources (see project 2 for more information):


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 brand-spankin' new 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.

I, Cringely

A weekly column by Robert Cringely that provides a humorous but profound look at the world of Information Technology.
"What makes Cringely such an interesting writer is the way he combines a solid understanding of technology, the ability to explain it simply, and an irreverence for those who, at the highest levels, hawk it" IEEE Spectrum, May 1997.


Your text book mentions the Nachos System in the Appendix (pages 699-714). Although this system could be used for an intro course on operating systems, we have chosen to go the Fossil way. Still, keen, interested students may like to look further into the Nachos software.


You might also want to check out "The Cathedral or the Bazaar", an interesting look at open source software development.

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

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)