CSE 120: Principles of Computer Operating Systems (2024)

Fall 2022

Geoffrey M. Voelker(voelker@cs.ucsd.edu)
Tu/Th 8–9:20am
Warren Lecture Hall 2001
TAs and Tutors
Jefferson Chien Yucheng Huang
Rajdeep Pinge Shuhua Xie
Eric Van Grinsven Manshi Yang
Kaiyuan Wang
Steven Wu
Discussion Sections
Fri 4–4:50am inSolis 107
Office Hours
Voelker (All Topics): Mon 3–4pm, Wed 4–5pm (CSE 3108)
CSE basem*nt
Discussion Board
Lab Hours
CSE 120: Principles of Computer Operating Systems (1)Remzi H. Arpaci-Dusseau and Andrea C. Arpaci-Dusseau
Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces
Version 1.00 (Available free online!)

Course Objectives

This course covers the principles of operating systems. Itemphasizes the basic concepts of OS kernel organization and structure,processes and threads, concurrency and synchronization, memorymanagement, file systems, and communication. It is also a projectcourse, providing essential experience in programming withconcurrency, implementing and unmasking abstractions, working withinan existing complex system, and collaborating with other students in agroup effort.

Course Schedule

The following table outlines the schedule for the course. We willupdate it as the quarter progresses.

9/22Course IntroCH. 1, CH. 2
9/27Architectural SupportCH. 6Hardware events HW 1: Out PR 0: Out
9/29Processes CH. 3, CH. 4, CH. 5Linux context switch
9/30(Friday)PR 0: Due
10/4ThreadsCH. 26, CH. 27 PR 1: Out
10/6SynchronizationCH. 28, CH. 29HW 1: Due
HW 2: Out
10/11Semaphores and MonitorsCH. 30, CH. 31Languages and CVs
10/13Semaphores and MonitorsCH. 30, CH. 31Languages and CVs
10/18(No lecture, work on project)
10/20Scheduling and DeadlockCH. 7, CH. 8, CH. 32
10/21(Friday)PR 1: Due
10/22(Saturday)HW 2: Due
10/24Midterm Review5-6:20pm PCYNH 109
10/25Midterm Exam
10/26(Wednesday)HW 3: OutPR 2: Out
10/27Memory ManagementCH. 15,CH. 16,CH. 18
11/1PagingCH. 19,CH. 20
11/3Paging (cont'd)CH. 19,CH. 20
11/8Page ReplacementCH. 21,CH. 22,CH. 23
11/10File SystemsCH. 37,CH. 39Interesting behaviors
11/12(Saturday)PR 2: Due
11/14(Monday) HW 3: Due PR 3: Out
11/15File System ImplementationCH. 40Interesting behaviors
11/17ProtectionCH. 53,CH. 55 HW 4: Out
11/22Virtual Machines Appendix B
11/24Thanksgiving HolidayThanksgivingFood. Lots of it.Sleep. Lots of it.
11/29 Research Talk
11/30(Wednesday)HW 4: Due
12/2(Friday)PR 3: Due
12/6 Final Exam 8–11am WLH 2001

Course Organization

The course is organized as a series of lectures by the instructor,discussion sections by the TAs, reading, homework, and projectassignments, and exams:

  • Lectures: The lectures present the core of the material.
  • Sections: The discussion sections aregiven by the TAs to answer questions about the lecture, textbookreadings, homework assignments, and project assignments.
  • Readings: The readings in the textbook provide preparationand a reference for the lectures. Note, however, that they arenot a substitute for the lectures.
  • Homeworks: There are approximately four homework assignments withquestions taken from the textbook and other materials. The homework assignments reinforce the readings and lectures.
  • Projects: There are three programming projects, all usingthe Nachos instructional operating system.
  • Exams: There are two exams, a midterm exam in the middle ofthe quarter and a final exam at the end of the quarter. The examswill cover the material presented in lecture, the homeworks, and theprojects. You can use both sides of one 8.5x11" page of notes toassist you during the exams.


The course will have four homeworks, and I will post them as the quarter progresses. You may type or handwrite your answers, and we will use gradesource for submitting homeworks. To encourage timeliness, we will reduce homework grades by 20% foreach day that they are late. But if you run into a difficultsituation, let me know.

  • Homework 1 (Due 10/6)
  • Homework 2 (Due 10/22)
  • Synchronization Practice (Optional)
  • Homework 3 (Due 11/14)
  • Homework 4 (Due 11/30)

Due to extensive copying on homeworks in the past, I have changed how homeworks are graded. As long as you submit a technical answer related to the question, you will get full credit for the question. The goal of the homeworks is to give you practice learning the material. The homework questions both supplement and complement the material from lecture and in the project, and you will also find the homework questions to be useful for practicing for the exams. We will post solutions to all homeworks after they are submitted, and you can use them for studying as well. But, even with the solutions, the amount you learn from the homeworks will be directly correlated with your effort working on them.

I encourage you to collaborate on the homeworks: You can learn alot from your fellow students. Collaboration consists of discussingproblems with other students and independently writing your ownanswers to the problems based upon those discussions. As a rule ofthumb, you should be able to discuss a homework problem in the hallwith others, go home, and then write up your answer to the problem onyour own.


The course has one tutorial project and three programming projectsusing the Nachos instructional operating system.

  • Project page


The course has two exams, a midterm and a final. The midterm willcover the first half of the class, and the final will cover thematerial for the entire quarter. Below are sample exams to help youstudy.
  • Sample Midterm [Solutions]
  • Sample Final [Solutions]

Discussion Sections

Discussion sections answer questions about the lectures,homeworks, projects, and programming environment. They may alsosupplement the lectures with additional material.


Your grade for the course will be based on your performance on thehomeworks, midterm and final exams, and the three projects using thefollowing weights:

  • Homeworks: 6%
  • Midterm: 28%
  • Final: 33%
  • Projects: 33%

The academichonesty guidelines outlined by Charles Elkan apply to this course.I urge you to resist any temptation to cheat, no matter how desperatethe situation may seem. If you are in circ*mstances that you feelcompel you to cheat, come to me first before you do so.

Supplemental Reading

The supplemental readings include primary sources and in-depthsupplements for concepts in the class. Supplemental reading is foryour own interest — the readings are not required, nor will you betested on the material. Note that some of the links to the documentspoint to the ACM Digital Library. UCSD has a subscription to the ACMDigital Library, so you will need to use a web browser on campus toaccess them.


CSE 120: Principles of Computer Operating Systems (2024)
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