CS 450: Operating Systems, Spring 2017

Links: [Course Home] [Schedule] [Learning Objectives] [Resources] [Moodle]

Instructor Dr. Suzanne Rivoire (suzanne.rivoire@sonoma.edu)
Lecture MoWe 10:00–11:50 AM, International Hall 201A
Drop-in office hoursMoWe 4:00–5:00 PM
We 12:00–1:45 PM
Office hours are in Darwin 116F. Please knock if the door to 116 is closed.
Textbook [required] Thomas Anderson and Michael Dahlin, Operating Systems: Principles and Practice, 2nd edition, ISBN 978-0985673529
Prerequisites Grades of C- or better in CS 315 and CS 252, or consent of instructor.

Catalog Description

Lecture, 4 hours. This course covers the fundamental concepts of operating system design and implementation; the study of problems, goals, and methods of concurrent programming; and the fundamentals of systems programming. Topics include resource-management, process and thread scheduling algorithms, inter-process communication, I/O subsystems and device-drivers, memory management including virtual memory, segmentation, and page-replacement policies. These topics will be covered in theory and in practice through the study of the source-code of a working operating system.

Learning Objectives

For a list of detailed objectives, visit http://rivoire.cs.sonoma.edu/cs450/objectives.html. That list breaks down into 5 major themes:

  1. General OS principles: the purpose of operating systems, and the concept of layers of abstraction
  2. Concurrency: communication and synchronization between processes
  3. Resource allocation and scheduling: ensuring that every process gets its fair share of system resources
  4. Virtual memory and virtual machines: the hard work of maintaining useful abstractions for application processes
  5. Device management and file systems

Consolidated Syllabus

You may download the course description, objectives, syllabus, and schedule in a consolidated pdf:

Exam Dates

Exam 1:Feb. 22 (Wed.)In lecture, 10:00–11:50 AM
Exam 2:Apr. 10 (Mon.)In lecture, 10:00–11:50 AM
Exam 3 (final):May 15 (Mon.)11:00 AM –12:50 PM

Students who have scheduling conflicts on these dates should contact the instructor at the beginning of the semester.

Coursework and Grading

Course Activities

Lecture and Reading

The tentative course schedule shows the topics to be covered. Students are expected to attend all lectures and to get the notes from another student if absent. Students are advised to skim the assigned reading material before each lecture and read more fully after the lecture.

In-class Activities

In-class activities, including quizzes, will be given almost every lecture. Some lectures may include multiple activities. Students' lowest 4 scores on these activities will be dropped from the grade calculation. These activities cannot be made up.

Homework problem sets

Approximately 4 homework sets will be assigned. These assignments may be problem sets, programming projects, or a mix of the two. You may work in groups of up to three students and submit a single solution set for the group.

No late problem sets will be accepted. This policy allows us to discuss their solutions right after the deadline, when applicable.


Three exams will be given, with the third during the scheduled final exam time. The exams cover the material from lecture, homework sets, activities, and the textbook. Exams will emphasize recent material, although you are responsible for knowing previous material as well. You may bring one 8.5 by 11-inch handwritten sheet of notes to all exams.

Makeup exams will be given only in extraordinary circumstances.

Grading Policies

Grade breakdown

Exams 45%
Homework problem sets 40%
Class activities15%

Grading scale

93-100%90-92%87-89%83-86%80-82%77-79%73-76%70-72%67-69%63-66%60-62%Below 60%

Up to 3% may be added to your final grade at the instructor's discretion for constructive participation in the class. Constructive participation includes in-class participation; asking good questions via email or during office hours; and doing outstanding or extra work on assignments. No other adjustments of borderline grades will be considered.

Attendance Policy

Your attendance is highly encouraged, and absence from class can affect your grade in the following ways:

Collaboration Policies

Special note for group work

Your work is the collective responsibility of your group: you will all get the same grade for the assignment, and you will all be held responsible for any violation of the course collaboration policy in the work you submit.

If you start working with a group on a particular assignment but are no longer comfortable sharing this credit or responsibility with one or more of your groupmates, please let me know as soon as possible.

Homework problem set collaboration policy

Problem sets must be the sole work of your group members, and academic misconduct is taken very seriously. You may discuss ideas and approaches with other students and the instructor, but you should work out all details and write up all solutions on your own. The following actions will be penalized as academic dishonesty:

Exam and quiz collaboration policy

Exams and quizzes must be your own work. You are allowed to consult only your own brain, your 8.5x11" handwritten cheat sheet, and other materials specifically permitted by the instructor. Quiz policies will vary and will be announced when the quiz is given. On both exams and quizzes, giving or receiving unpermitted aid will be penalized as academic dishonesty.

Penalties for Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty will be severely penalized; at a minimum, you will receive a grade of 0 on the assignment. For more information, see SSU's cheating and plagiarism policy (http://www.sonoma.edu/UAffairs/policies/cheating_plagiarism.htm) and the Dispute Resolution Board website (http://www.sonoma.edu/senate/committees/drb/drb.html).

Course and University Resources

Course Resources


Moodle Gradebook

The course gradebook will be kept on Moodle (http://moodle.sonoma.edu) so that you can check your grades and compute your average at any time. Grades will be posted to Moodle shortly after assignments are returned.

Email List

Course announcements will be sent to your SSU email address, so you should check your email frequently.

University Resources

Disability Accommodations

If you are a student with a disability and you think you may require accommodations, please register with the campus office of Disability Services for Students (DSS), located in Salazar Hall - Room 1049, Phone: (707) 664-2677, TTY/TDD: (707) 664-2958. DSS will provide you with written confirmation of your verified disability and authorize recommended accommodations. This authorization must be presented to the instructor before any accommodations can be made. Visit http://www.sonoma.edu/dss for more information.

University Policies

There are important University policies that you should be aware of, such as the add/drop policy, cheating and plagiarism policy, grade appeal procedures, accommodations for students with disabilities, and the diversity vision statement. Go to this URL to find them: http://www.sonoma.edu/uaffairs/policies/studentinfo.shtml.