Operating Systems (Winter 2019)

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Course Outline

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

Lectures, Tests, & Project

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.

Assigned readings are subject to change, please check this page each week.



Sept. 5

Lecture 1: Introduction

Sept. 7

Lecture 2: Process API

Sept. 12

Lecture 3: Processes

Sept. 14

Lecture 4: Virtual Machines

Sept. 19

Lecture 5: Files and Directories

Sept. 21

Lecture 6

Sept. 26

Lecture 7

Sept. 28

Lecture 8

Oct. 3

Lecture 9: Concurrency & Threads, Locks, Semaphores

Oct. 5

Lecture 10 (via cuLearn/BigBlueButton)

Oct. 10

Lecture 11: Test 1 review

Oct. 12

Test 1 (solutions)

Oct. 17

Lecture 12

Oct. 19

Lecture 13

Oct. 31

Lecture 14: Address Translation, Segmentation, Free Space Management, Paging, TLBs

Nov. 2

Lecture 15

Nov. 7

Lecture 16

Nov. 9

Lecture 17

Nov. 14

Lecture 18

Nov. 16

Lecture 19

Nov. 21

Lecture 20: Test 2 Review

Nov. 23

Test 2 (solutions)

Nov. 28

Lecture 21

Nov. 30

Lecture 22

Dec. 12

Project due


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. Tutorials from before Test 1 should be completed by Test 1, and similarly tutorials for Test 2 should be completed before Test 2 (if you wish to receive credit).



Sept. 10,11

Processes and System Calls

Sept. 17, 18


Sept. 24, 25


Oct. 1, 2


Oct. 15, 16

Linux kernel modules

Oct. 29, 30


Nov. 5, 6

Kernel memory management

Nov. 12, 13

FUSE and kernel tracing


Assignments are due before class on the due dates (2:30 PM).

Due Date


Sept. 26

Assignment 1

Oct. 10

Assignment 2

Nov. 7 Nov. 9

Assignment 3

Nov. 21

Assignment 4

Course Software

In this course we will primarily working with Ubuntu, a widely-used family of Linux distributions. We will be using Ubuntu Server on the SCS's Openstack installation (accessible only from the Carleton network).

You may use other Linux distributions 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.

Online Resources

Other than the textbook, there are many, many other good online sources of information about operating systems. Here are a few that may be of interest:

How to Succeed and How to Fail in COMP 3000

While the use of outside resources is acceptable, even encouraged, use them to achieve understanding rather than answers.

It is very possible to get full tutorial marks by doing little more than showing up, and assignments can be quickly finished (and you can even get most of the marks) by working with partners, looking at old assignments, and doing lots of online searches. If this is all you do, however, you will fail the tests and you won't get a very good grade in the course.

Successful students use the tutorials and assignments as learning opportunities. They look at the code and ask "what does that do?" - not just in a general sense, but by looking at every line and asking why it is there. They modify the code in order to better understand it, and when they are confused they ask questions until they get the answers they need. This sort of learning takes time, generally much more than the time allocated for lectures and tutorials. A tutorial is only "finished" when you understand essentially all the material in it - not when 80 minutes are up.

If you find you are confused about the concepts, make sure to read and review the textbook and the Linux man pages. They provide much deeper answers than most online resources. The tutorials are designed to help you ask the right questions - the textbook and manual pages (and the lectures) help provide the answers.

Take the tutorials seriously. Understand the answers for all the questions on the assignments. Use the textbook and manual pages. Ask questions.

Good luck!