CSIS 460 Operating Systems

Course Description

A study of the organization and architecture of computer operating systems. The major principles of operating systems are presented, along with case studies involving actual operating systems.


Brian R. Snider
Office hours: Wood-Mar 223 (see schedule)





Students will understand:

Specific operating systems may be examined, but no particular operating system will be studied in-depth.

Course Organization

This course will include programming exercises demonstrating operating system concepts. Programming assignments will be carried out in a prescribed high-level language. Limited instruction in the use of this language will be provided. You are assumed to have previous experience with one or more high-level languages and will be expected to acquire the language skills necessary for this course with a minimum level of instruction.

The course will include regular homework and/or programming assignments. There will be no credit given for late assignments (without an excused absence)—turn in as much as you can. Unless otherwise specified, no handwritten work will be accepted.

Reading should be completed before the lecture covering the material per the provided schedule. Not all reading material will be covered in the lectures, but you will be responsible for the material on homework and exams. Quizzes over the assigned reading may be given at any time.

Collaboration and Academic Integrity

See the GFU CS/IS/Cyber policies for collaboration and discussion of collaboration and academic integrity. Most students would be surprised at how easy it is to detect collaboration or other academic integrity violations such as plagiarism in programming—please do not test us! Remember: you always have willing and legal collaborators in the faculty. We encourage you to ask questions in class, ask for help in the CS lab, use the class mailing list, and visit office hours for assistance.

Unless otherwise specified (e.g., for a group assignment or project), you are expected to do your own work. This also applies to the use of online resources (e.g., StackOverflow, ChatGPT). Put simply: if you are representing someone else's work as your own, you are being dishonest. Any suspected incidents of academic integrity violations will be investigated and reported to the Academic Affairs Office as they arise.

Almost all of life is filled with collaboration (i.e., people working together). Yet in our academic system, we artificially limit collaboration. These limits are designed to force you to learn fundamental principles and build specific skills. It is very artificial, and you'll find that collaboration is a valuable skill in the working world. While some of you may be tempted to collaborate too much, others will collaborate too little. When appropriate, it's a good idea to make use of others—the purpose here is to learn. Be sure to make the most of this opportunity but do it earnestly and with integrity.

University Resources

Accessibility and Disability

If you have specific physical, psychiatric, or learning disabilities and require accommodations, please contact Disability & Accessibility Services (DAS) as early as possible so that your learning needs can be appropriately met. For more information, go to georgefox.edu/das or contact das@georgefox.edu).

My desire as a professor is for this course to be welcoming to, accessible to, and usable by everyone, including students who are English-language learners, have a variety of learning styles, have disabilities, or are new to online learning systems. Be sure to let me know immediately if you encounter a required element or resource in the course that is not accessible to you. Also, let me know of changes I can make to the course so that it is more welcoming to, accessible to, or usable by students who take this course in the future.

Academic Resource Center

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) on the Newberg campus provides all undergraduate students with free writing consultation, academic coaching, and learning strategy review (e.g., techniques to improve reading, note-taking, study, time management). The ARC offers in-person appointments; if necessary, Zoom appointments can be arranged by request. The ARC, located on the first floor of the Murdock Library, is open from 1:00–10:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 12:00–4:00 p.m. on Friday. To schedule an appointment, go to the online schedule at traccloud.georgefox.edu, call 503-554-2327, email the_arc@georgefox.edu, or stop by the ARC. Visit arc.georgefox.edu for information about ARC Consultants' areas of study, instructions for scheduling an appointment, learning tips, and a list of other tutoring options on campus.

Student Support Network

George Fox University uses a robust referral and support system, Fox360, to learn about students who are experiencing various student success concerns. Students who are referred by a professor, other employee, or fellow student will be contacted by a member of our Student Support Network to explore the student's situation, develop a plan, and connect with relevant campus resources. GFU community members who have a concern about a student's well-being can submit an aleart by going to fox360.georgefox.edu. Our goal is to provide 360° care for students as they navigate their college experience. For more information see ssn.georgefox.edu or contact Rick Muthiah, Director of Learning Support Services.

Health and Safety Considerations

Please review the entirety of the university's official COVID-19 web page for the most up-to-date community guidance.


Grading Scale

The final course grade will be based on:

Graded course activities will be posted to Canvas. Take care to read the specifications carefully and proceed as directed. Failure to pay attention to detail will often result in few to zero points being awarded on a given activity.

Grades will be updated as often as possible; you are encouraged to use the "What-If" functionality to calculate your total grade by entering hypothetical scores for various items.

Note that some graded activities in this course will be submitted via GitLab.

Tentative Schedule

Week 1 · Tue

Introduction & History

Reading: Ch. 1.1–1.2

Week 1 · Thu

System Concepts

Reading: Ch. 1.3–1.5

Week 2 · Tue

System Services

Reading: Ch. 1.6

Week 2 · Thu

System Structure

Reading: Ch. 1.7–1.12

Week 3 · Tue


Reading: Ch. 2.1

Week 3 · Thu


Reading: Ch. 2.2

Week 4 · Tue

Interprocess Communication

Reading: Ch. 2.3

Week 4 · Thu


Reading: Ch. 2.4–2.7

Week 5 · Tue

Memory Abstraction

Reading: Ch. 3.1–3.2

Week 5 · Thu

Virtual Memory & Paging

Reading: Ch. 3.3

Week 6 · Tue

Page Replacement Algorithms

Reading: Ch. 3.4

Week 6 · Thu

Mid-semester break—no classes

Week 7 · Tue

Paging System Issues; Segmentation

Reading: Ch. 3.5–3.9

Week 7 · Thu

Midterm exam

Reading: Ch. 1–3

Week 8 · Tue

Files & Directories

Reading: Ch. 4.1–4.2

Week 8 · Thu

File System Implementation

Reading: Ch. 4.3

Week 9 · Tue

File System Management

Reading: Ch. 4.4

Week 9 · Thu

Example File Systems

Reading: Ch. 4.5–4.7; ext4; Btrfs

Week 10 · Tue

I/O Hardware

Reading: Ch. 5.1

Week 10 · Thu

I/O Software

Reading: Ch. 5.2–5.3

Week 11 · Tue

Disks & Clocks

Reading: Ch. 5.4–5.5

Week 11 · Thu

User I/O Devices & Power Management

Reading: Ch. 5.6–5.10

Week 12 · *

Spring break—no classes

Week 13 · Tue

Deadlock Detection & Recovery

Reading: Ch. 6.1–6.4

Week 13 · Thu

Deadlock Avoidance & Prevention

Reading: Ch. 6.5–6.9

Week 14 · Tue


Reading: Ch. 7.1–7.10

Week 14 · Thu

Multiprocessor Systems

Reading: Ch. 8.1

Week 15 · Tue


Reading: Ch. 9.1–9.2

Week 15 · Thu

Case Studies

Reading: Ch. 10.1–10.2; 11.1; 11.3

Week 16 · TBD

Final exam

Reading: *

This page was last modified on 2024-01-06 at 17:22:09.

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