CSE 506, Fall 2011: Operating Systems

Latest Announcements

9/8: Lab 1 deadline extended
Lab 1 is now due on Wed, 9/14 at 11:59 pm.
8/29: Room Change
The location for this course has changed to Javits 111.

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Course Info

Course Objectives and Description

The primary objective of this course is to gain a detailed understanding of how computer systems work. For instance, when one types a command at the console, what is the chain of hardware and software events that lead to the command returning the correct value? This deep understanding is of practical and philosophical importance. It is practically immportant to understand how computer systems work when you are trying to make them do something new, either for research or industry. More philosophically, a computer scientist with an advanced degree should not view any part of the computer as "magic," but should either understand how it works or have the tools to figure it out.

This course will focus on implementing key OS kernel features in the JOS kernel. JOS provides skeleton code for much of the less interesting components of the OS, allowing you to focus on key implementation details. The JOS lab was developed at MIT, and has been used at several other universities, including Stanford, Texas, and UCLA.

Lectures and readings in the course will serve to draw out general principles, add needed background for the labs, and map details from the JOS implementation to real-world OSes, like Linux and Windows. In my own experience, most of the mapping is fairly intuitive: once you understand the simple code in JOS, the same pattern is clear in the much more complicated Linux source code.

This course will not attempt to provide a comprehensive introduction to operating systems. Some previous exposure to the basics of multi-programmed operating systems will be assumed.

Detailed information about the course is available on the syllabus.


Portions of this course design, organization, policies, syllabus, web design, etc. came from Mike Walfish and Erez Zadok. I owe previous course staffs at several universities a debt of gratitude for developing the JOS labs.

Last updated: Tue Nov 08 13:38:27 -0500 2011 [validate xhtml]