Operating Systems (Fall 2014)

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Course Outline

Here is the course outline for COMP 3000: Operating Systems.

Lectures and Exams

Note that the topics below are primarily chapters from the class textbook, Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces. Note that while introductory and summary dialogues are not linked below, they are worth reading for an informal take on the material.



Sept. 5

Lecture 1: Introduction

Sept. 10

Lecture 2: Processes, Process API

Sept. 12

Lecture 3: Limited Direct Execution

Sept. 17

Lecture 4: CPU Scheduling, MLFQ

Sept. 19

Lecture 5: Lottery Scheduling, Multi-CPU scheduling

Sept. 24

Lecture 6: Address Spaces, Memory API

Sept. 26

Lecture 7: Address Translation, Segmentation

Oct. 1

Lecture 8: Free space management, Paging

Oct. 3

Lecture 9: Concurrency and Threads, Locks

Oct. 8

Lecture 10: Concurrent Data Structures, Thread API

Oct. 10

Lecture 11: Condition Variables, Semaphores, Concurrency Problems

Oct. 15

Lecture 12: TLBs, Smaller Tables

Oct. 17

Lecture 13: Midterm Review

Oct. 22

Midterm (in class)

Oct. 24

Midterm solutions

Nov. 5

Lecture 14: Hard Disk Drives, File and Directories

Nov. 7

Lecture 15: FSCK and Journaling

Nov. 12

Lecture 16: I/O Devices

Nov. 14

Lecture 17: File System Implementation, FFS

Nov. 19

Lecture 18: RAID, Log-structured FS (optional readings)

Nov. 21

Lecture 19: Data Integrity and Protection

Nov. 26

Lecture 20: Distributed Systems, Swapping: Mechanisms, Swapping: Policies

Nov. 28

Lecture 21: NFS, AFS (optional readings)

Dec. 3

Lecture 22: Assignment Solutions 1

Dec. 5

Lecture 23: Assignment Solutions 2

Dec. 9, 1 PM

Review Session in ME 3275

Dec. 14, 2 PM

Final Exam in FH rows 20-25 (solutions)


Each week you will get a progress grade from 0-4, given to you by a TA. If you are being diligent, you should be able to get 4's every week. The easiest way to get your grade is to come to tutorial and meet with your TA; alternately, you can meet a TA in their office hours or, at their discretion, discuss things with them online.



Sept. 5,8

UNIX Introduction

Sept. 12, 15

Simple Shell

Sept. 19, 22


Sept. 26, 29

ELF, dynamic libraries

Oct. 3, 6

Paging, Threads, Concurrency

Oct. 10

(Optional) Continue Tutorial 5 and help with Assignment 5

Oct. 17, 20


Nov. 7, 10

Block devices, Filesystems

Nov. 14, 17

Devices and Modules

Nov. 21, 24

User-mode Filesystems

Nov. 28, Dec. 1

Networking, Network Filesystems


Due Date


Sept. 10

Assignment 1

Sept. 17

Assignment 2

Sept. 24

Assignment 3

Oct. 4 (extended)

Assignment 4

Oct. 16 (Thurs.)

Assignment 5

Nov. 12

Assignment 6

Nov. 20

Assignment 7

Nov. 27

Assignment 8

Dec. 4

Assignment 9

Course Software

In this course we will primarily working with Lubuntu, a low-resource variant of Ubuntu Linux distribution. You may use other Linux distributions in the tutorials to complete the assigned work; there will be differences, however, in some aspects (such as installing software), particularly if you use a distribution not based on Ubuntu or Debian.

In the labs

In the SCS labs you should be able to run the course VM by starting Virtualbox (listed in the Applications menu) and selecting the COMP 2406/3000 virtual machine image. After the VM has fully booted you will be automatically logged into the student account; this account has admin privileges and its password is "tneduts!".

We highly recommend running your VM in full-screen mode (select from the menu, not by maximizing the window). Do all of your work inside of the VM; it should be fast enough and you won't have any issues with sharing files or with firewalls/network connectivity.

You can save the work you do from the course VM (in the student account) to your SCS account and restore it to any other copy of the class VM (on your machines or in the labs) by running using the following commands:

 save3000 <SCS username>
 restore3000 <SCS username>
 compare3000 <SCS username>

If you use these commands, use them consistently. That means run restore3000 when you first log in, and run save3000 just before logging out. If you don't do this, you will erase the work that you had done previously when you save.

If you forgot to restore and you want to save, try running this:

  rsync -a -v --progress ~/ <SCS username>@access.scs.carleton.ca:COMP3000/

This is the same as the save3000 command minus the options (--delete and --force) that deletes files in the destination that don't exist in the source. As a check, you may want to add the -n option to do a dry run.

Running the VM on your own machines

If you want to run the VM appliance on your own system (running essentially any desktop operating system you want), just download the virtual appliance file and import. The SHA1 hash of this file is:

 e5613881b28be41f49b82730282d40093388ee71  COMP 2406-3000 Fall 2014.ova

On Windows you can compute this hash for your downloaded file using the command FCIV -sha1 COMP 2406-3000 Fall 2014.ova. If the hash is different from above, your download has been corrupted.

If the application is not VirtualBox, you'll need to:

  • Have the VM platform ignore any errors in the structure of the appliance found during the import process;
  • Uninstall the VirtualBox guest additions by typing starting a terminal application and running
  sudo apt-get purge virtualbox-guest-x11 virtualbox-guest-utils
  • Install your platform's own Linux guest additions, if available.