CS 420 - Operating Systems

Fall 2007

David Hovemeyer
Office / Phone
GH 118 / 717-815-6582
Office Hours
M/W 11 AM - 12 PM
T/Th 2 - 3 PM
F 9 - 10 AM
or by arrangement
Class Location
GH 16
Class Times T/Th 12:30 - 1:45 PM

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of operating systems. Topics include inter-process communication, process scheduling, deadlock, memory management, virtual memory, file systems and distributed systems. Formal principles are illustrated with examples and case studies of one or more contemporary operating systems. Also, students will study a widely used operating system such as Windows or UNIX with an emphasis on system programming for the operating system. Topics include kernel design, the I/O system, scheduling algorithms, process control, inter-process communication, system calls, and memory management.


CS 340


Silberschatz et. al., Operating System Concepts, 7th ed.

Course Structure and Expectations

Class meetings will consist mainly of lecture and discussion.

Two in-class midterm exams will be given.  A scheduled final exam will be given; see the Final Exam Schedule.

Frequent in-class quizzes will be given.  Up to two missed quizzes will be forgiven.  Missed quizzes may not be made up.

Both written assignments and programming assignments will be given as homework.

In a sequence of  (approximately 4-5) programming projects, you will implement subsystems within a real (simplified) operating system kernel, GeekOS.  These projects will involve significant programming using C and x86 assembly language.  The goal of these projects is to create components of a small but complete operating system kernel supporting processes, virtual memory, filesystems, and inter-process communication.



Grades are assigned on a 100-point scale:

Numeric Range
Letter Grade
A (4.0)
B+ (3.5)
B (3.0)
C+ (2.5)
C (2.0)
D (1.0)
F (0.0)

Your overall grade for the course will be determined as follows:

Course website

Please check the course web page, http://faculty.ycp.edu/~dhovemey/fall2007/cs420/, regularly for important announcements.

Posting and submission of assignments and labs

Assignments and labs will be posted as zip files on the course web page, http://faculty.ycp.edu/~dhovemey/fall2007/cs420/.

Assignments and labs will be submitted using the server https://camel.ycp.edu:8443.  You will receive an email containing the username and password you should use for this server.

Academic Integrity

The following policy pertains to homework and graded (individual) programming assignments:

All homework assignments and graded (individual) programming assignments are to be completed individually.  I encourage you to discuss high level concepts with other students, but any work you submit must be yours alone.

Direct copying of code or other work from other students, web sites, or other sources is absolutely forbidden under any circumstances.

Any sources (books, websites, articles, fellow students, etc.) that you consult in completing an assignment must be properly acknowledged.  In general, I strongly discourage you from using any resource not explicitly listed in the course syllabus or on the course web page.  When you work on a programming assignment, it must be your program, not your adaptation of someone else's program.

Quizzes and exams must be completed individually.

Any violation of the course's academic integrity policy will be referred to the Dean of Academic Affairs, and could have consequences ranging from a 0 on an assignment to dismissal from the college.

Late Assignments

Late assignments will be marked down 5% per day late.  No credit is given for assignments turned in after grading has taken place.


No make-up exams will be given without approval of the instructor prior to class unless proof of extreme emergency or illness is provided.

Attendance and Participation

I expect you to attend class and participate regularly in class discussions.  If you miss a class, please notify me in advance.  You are responsible for all material covered in class, regardless of whether or not you were present.  If you attend and participate in class regularly, you can expect to receive full credit (5% of the course grade) for attendance and participation.  Frequent absence and/or lack of participation in class discussions will reduce the credit you receive for attendance and participation.

You are responsible for keeping up with the reading assignments as described in the schedule below.

Communication Standards

York College recognizes the importance of effective communication in all disciplines and careers. Therefore, students are expected to competently analyze, synthesize, organize, and articulate course material in papers, examinations and presentations. In addition, students should know and use communication skills current to their field of study, recognize the need for revision as part of their writing process, and employ standard conventions of English usage in both writing and speaking. Students may be asked to further revise assignments that do not demonstrate effective use of these communication skills.


This schedule may be subject to minor changes.  Any changes will be announced in class and also be posted on the course web page.

Week 1: Aug 27th to Aug 31st

Chapter 1
Week 2: Sep 3rd to Sep 7th

Operating system structure
Chapter 2
Week 3: Sep 10th to Sep 14th

Process management
Chapter 3
Week 4: Sep 17th to Sep 21st

Threads and scheduling
Chapter 4
Week 5: Sep 24th to Sep 28th

CPU scheduling
Chapter 5
Week 6: Oct 1st to Oct 5th

Chapter 6
Week 7: Oct 8th to Oct 12th

Chapter 7
Oct 13th to Oct 16th
Fall break, no classes
Week 8: Oct 15th to Oct 19th
No class on Tuesday
Memory management
Chapter 8
Week 9: Oct 22nd to Oct 26th

Memory management, continued
Virtual memory
Chapter 9
Week 10: Oct 29th to Nov 2nd

Virtual memory, continued

Week 11: Nov 5th to Nov 9th

Filesystem interfaces and implementation
Chapter 10
Week 12: Nov 12th to Nov 16th

Filesystems, continued
Mass storage
Chapters 11-12
Week 13: Nov 19th to Nov 23rd
No class on Thursday
Chapter 13
Nov 21st to Nov 25
Thanksgiving break, no classes
Week 14: Nov 26th to Nov 30th

Protection and security
Chapters 14-15
Week 15: Dec 3rd to Dec 7th

Protection and security, continued
Distributed systems
Chapter 16
Week 16: Dec 10th to Dec 14th
No class on Thursday
Course wrap-up