CSE 120: Principles of Computer Operating Systems

Fall 2001

Geoff Voelker (voelker@cs.ucsd.edu)
AP&M 5131
(858) 822-3323
Teaching Assistants
Anirban Bagchi (Homeworks, Discussion) (abagchi@cs.ucsd.edu)
Rishi Dubey (Projects) (rdubey@cs.ucsd.edu)
Kuo-Wen Lo (Projects) (kulo@ucsd.edu)
Tu/Th 9:35am - 10:55am
CSB 001
Discussion Sections
M 11:15am - 12:05pm
Office Hours
Voelker: M 3:35pm - 4:25pm, Tu 11:00am - 12:00pm
Bagchi: Th 11:30am - 1:30pm in AP&M 3337A
Dubey: Tu 2:00-5:00pm (OSTL), Th 2:00-5:00pm (uAPE)
Lo: We 8:00-11:00pm (uAPE), Th 8:00-11:00pm (OSTL)
AP&M B402 (uAPE, sparcs)
AP&M 3313 (OSTL, x86)
EBU2 313 (overflow, sparcs)
Tanenbaum, Modern Operating Systems, Prentice Hall, 2nd Edition.
Discussion Board

Course Objectives

This course covers the principles of operating systems. It emphasizes the basic concepts of OS kernel organization and structure, processes and threads, concurrency and synchronization, memory management, file systems, and communication. It is also a project course, providing essential experience in programming with concurrency, implementing and unmasking abstractions, working within an existing complex system, and collaborating with other students in a group effort.

Course Organization

The course is organized as a series of lectures by the instructor, discussion sections by the TAs, reading, homework, and project assignments, and exams:


Homeworks are due by the end of class on the day specified. We will reduce homework grades by 20% for each day that they are late. You must hand in a hardcopy of your homework; disagreements about the contents of emailed homeworks have caused too much grief in the past.

I encourage you to collaborate on the homeworks: You can learn a lot from your fellow students. However, there can be a fine line between collaboration and cheating. Collaboration consists of discussing problems with other students and independently writing your own answers to the problems based upon those discussions; as a rule of thumb, you should be able to discuss a homework problem in the library with others, go home, and then write up your answer to the problem on your own. Cheating consists of looking at other student's homeworks and copying the answers, looking at past homeworks and/or solutions from previous versions of the class, searching on the Web, etc. The consequences of cheating will correspond to the severity (e.g., failure of the assignment, failure of the course). Cheating causes many problems for all of us -- don't do it, and save us all the grief.

The academic honesty guidelines outlined by Charles Elkan for CSE 130 apply to this course.


The course has three programming projects using the Nachos instructional operating system. You will work in groups of four on each of the projects.



Your grade for the course will be based on your performance on the homeworks, midterm and final exams, and the three projects using the following weights:

Course Schedule

The following table outlines the schedule for the course. I will update it as the quarter progresses.

Date Lecture Readings Homework Project
9/20 Course Introduction (B/W)
OS Structure (B/W)
Chapter 1    
9/25 OS Architectural Support (B/W) Chapter 12: 12.1, 12.2, 12.3 Homework 1: Out  
9/27 Processes (B/W) Chapter 2.1    
10/2 Threads (B/W) Chapter 2.2 Homework 1: Due Project 0
10/4 Synchronization (B/W) Chapter 2.3    
10/9 Semaphores and Monitors (B/W) Chapter 2.3 Homework 2: Out Project 1 (out)
Due 10/21 (Sun)
10/11 Semaphores and Monitors (B/W)
Project 1 Issues (B/W)
Chapter 2.3    
10/16 No class, instructor AWOL      
10/18 Scheduling and Deadlock (B/W) Chapter 2.4, 3    
10/23 Memory Management (B/W) Chapter 4.1, 4.2 Homework 2: Due  
10/25 Midterm and Project Review (B/W)      
10/28 (Sunday)     Project 1 Due
10/30 Midterm Exam      
11/1 Paging (B/W) Chapter 4.3, 4.7, 4.8   Project 2 Out
11/6 Page Replacement (B/W) Chapter 4.4, 4.5, 4.6 Homework 3: Out  
11/8 Disk I/O (B/W) Chapter 5 (5.5-5.10 optional)    
11/13 File Systems (B/W) Chapter 6 Homework 3: Due  
11/15 FFS, LFS, and RAID (B/W) Chapter 6.3.8, Chapter 5.4.1   Project 2 Due
11/20 RPC (B/W) Chapter 8.2.4 Homework 4: Out Project 3 Out
11/22 Thanksgiving Holiday      
11/27 Security/Inferring DoS (B/W) Chapter 9    
11/29 Final Review   Homework 4: Due  
12/2 (Sunday)     Project 3 Due
F 12/7 Final Exam