Operating Systems


  • Course: Operating Systems (CO20-320202)
  • Semester: Fall 2017
  • Instructor: Jürgen Schönwälder
  • TA: Mateen, Tayyab
  • Class: Wednesday, 14:15-15:30, Lecture Hall Research I
  • Class: Thursday, 14:15-15:30, Lecture Hall Research II


This course provides an introduction to the concepts underlying operating systems. Students will develop an understanding how operating systems realize a virtual machine that can be used to execute multiple concurrent application programs. The course discusses resource allocation algorithms and how concurrency problems can be solved.

Topics: Operating system architectures, system calls and interrupts, concurrent processes and threads, scheduling, synchronization, deadlocks, virtual memory, file systems, inter-process communication, socket programming interface.



  • Abraham Silberschatz, Peter B. Galvin, Greg Gagne: "Applied Operating System Concepts", John Wiley, 2000
  • Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Herbert Bos: "Modern Operating Systems", Prentice Hall, 4th edition, Pearson, 2015
  • William Stallings: "Operating Systems: Internals and Design Principles", 8th edition, Pearson, 2014
  • Robert Love: "Linux Kernel Development", 3rd edition, Addison Wesley, 2010
  • Allen B. Downey: "The Little Book of Semaphores", Version 2.2.1, Green Tea Press, 2016


We 14:15 Th 14:15 Topics
2017-09-06 2017-09-07 Introduction, Libraries, Function Call, System Calls, Tools
2017-09-13 2017-09-14 Processes, Threads
2017-09-20 2017-09-21 Synchronization (Mutual Exclusion, Semaphores)
2017-09-27 2017-09-28 Synchronization (Condition Variables, Monitors, Deadlocks)
2017-10-04 2017-10-05 Memory Management (Segmentation)
2017-10-11 2017-10-12 Virtual Memory (Paging, Working Sets)
2017-10-18 2017-10-19 Inter-Process Communication (Signals, Pipes)
2017-10-25 2017-10-26 Inter-Process Communication (Sockets)
2017-11-01 2017-11-02 Inter-Process Communication (Sockets)
2017-11-08 2017-11-09 File Systems
2017-11-15 2017-11-16 Memory Mapping / Dynamic Linking
2017-11-22 2017-11-23 Block and Character Devices
2017-11-29 2017-11-30 Virtualization and Virtual Machines
2017-12-06 2017-12-07 Distributed Systems
Mo 15:45 Mo 14:15 Topics
2017-12-04 2017-12-11 Semaphore pattern / exam preparation


Date/Due Name Topics
2017-09-13 Quiz #1 general concept, library and system calls
2017-09-20 Sheet #1 system and library calls, processes (fork, exec, wait)
2017-09-27 Quiz #2 processes, threads, race conditions
2017-10-04 Sheet #2 pthreads and coin flipping
2017-10-11 Quiz #3 semaphores, locks, condition variables
2017-10-18 Sheet #3 pthreads and semaphores
2017-10-25 Quiz #4 memory management (segmentation, paging)
2017-11-02 Sheet #4 memory management (paging)
2017-11-08 Quiz #5 signals, pipes
2017-11-15 Sheet #5 word guessing game server (tcp, pipe)
2017-11-22 Quiz #6 file systems
2017-12-01 Sheet #6 Linux file system behavior
2017-12-13 Final Exam 09:00-11:00 CNLH (closed book)
2018-02-10 Makeup Exam 14:00-16:00 CS Lecture Hall (closed book)


The final grade is made up of homeworks/assignments (30%), bi-weekly quizzes (30%), and the final exam (40%).

Electronic submission is the preferred way to hand in homework solutions. Please submit documents (plain ASCII text or PDF, no Word) and your source code (tar, zip) via the online submission system. If you have problems, please contact one of the TAs.

Late submissions will not be accepted. Homeworks may need to be defended in an oral interview.

For any questions stated on assignment sheets, quiz sheets, exam sheets or during makeups, we by default expect a reasoning for the answer given, unless explicitely stated otherwise.

Students must submit solutions individually. If you copy material verbatim from the Internet (or other sources), you have to provide a proper reference. If we find your solution text on the Internet without a proper reference, you risk to lose your points. Any cheating cases will be reported to the registrar. In addition, you will lose the points (of course).

Any programs, which have to be written, will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • correctness including proper handling of error conditions
  • proper use of programming language constructs
  • clarity of the program organization and design
  • readability of the source code and any output produced

Source code must be accompanied by a README file providing an overview of the source files and giving instructions how to build the programs. A suitable Makefile is required if the build process involves more than a single source file.

If you are unhappy with the grading, please report immediately (within one week) to the TAs. If you can't resolve things, contact the instructor. Problem reports which come late, that is after the one week period, are not considered anymore.

The policy on makeup quizzes is the following: There won't be any quiz makeups. If you (a) get an official excuse for a quiz from the registrar's office or (b) approach we well in advance of the quiz with a very good reason for not being able to participate (e.g., because you take a GRE computer science subject test at the day of a quiz), then the weight of the final exam will be increased according to the weight of the quiz you got excused for.