15-712 Syllabus


There are no official texts for the course. If you're not familiar with the background material, you may wish to look at:

You might take a peek at the two CMU undergrad systems courses for background information on operating systems (15-410) and networking (15-441).

Suggested Readings

You may also find the following readings useful:


Your final grade for the course will be based on the following weights:

The project in 15-712 is an open-ended research project, done in groups of three. The project requires a proposal, a project status report, and a final report (both written and presented).


Also available as an ical file that you can subscribe to.

Date Topics Notes Readings
Wed 09/07 Introduction
Wisdom papers Brooks75, Hamming86, Gabriel91–Section 2.1 only, Lampson83, Saltzer84, Ritchie74
Part 1: Concurrency, Threads, and Ordering
Mon 09/12 Implementing Remote Procedure Calls
SigOps HoF paper Birrell84
Wed 09/14 Using Threads in Interactive Systems: A Case Study
Fri 09/16 Time, Clocks, and the Ordering of Events in a Distributed System
SigOps HoF paper Lamport78
Part 2: Bugs, Bugs, Bugs
Mon 09/19 Eraser: A Dynamic Data Race Detector for Multi-Threaded Programs
SOSP'97 best paper. Bugs as Deviant Behavior (SOSP'01) Savage97
Wed 09/21 No class
Fri 09/23 Using Model Checking to Find Serious File System Errors
OSDI'04 best paper. Towards Optimization-Safe Systems (SOSP'13 best paper) Yang04
Part 3: File Systems and Disks
Mon 09/26 AFS
Leases. SigOps HoF papers Howard88
Wed 09/28 The Design and Implementation of a Log-Structured File System
SigOps HoF paper. Deadline to form project groups. Rosenblum92
Fri 09/30 A Case for Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks (RAID)
SigOps HoF paper. Fast'07 best paper. Guest Lecturer Garth Gibson Patterson88, Schroeder07
Part 4: Big Data Systems
Mon 10/03 MapReduce and Spark
SigOps HoF paper. NSDI'12 best paper. Dryad Dean04, Zaharia12
Wed 10/05 Naiad: A Timely Dataflow System
SOSP'13 best paper Murray13
Fri 10/07 No lecture
Course staff will be available to discuss project ideas
Mon 10/10 Spanner: Google's Globally-Distributed Database
OSDI'12 best paper. BigTable (OSDI'06 best paper) Corbett12
Wed 10/12 Dynamo: Amazon's Highly Available Key-value Store
Fri 10/14 From shared virtual memory to parameter servers (Li & Li)
SigOps HoF paper. OSDI'14 paper Li89, Li14
Part 5: Kernels and Parallelism
Mon 10/17 Exokernel and Safe kernel extensions
SOSP'97 paper. SigOps HoF paper. Original Exokernel paper, Multikernel (SOSP'09) Kaashoek97, Necula96
Wed 10/19 The Scalable Commutativity Rule: Designing Scalable Software for Multicore Processors
SOSP13 best paper. Project proposal due before midnight (by email to staff list). Clements15
Mon 10/24 Review
Wed 10/26 Midterm Exam
Fri 10/28 No class
Staff will be grading, you work on project.
Part 6: Transactions and Databases
Mon 10/31 On Optimistic Methods for Concurrency Control
SigOps HoF paper. Speculative Execution in a Distributed File System, Efficient Locking for Concurrent Operations on B-Trees Kung81
Wed 11/02 No Class. OSDI and Project Season
Fri 11/04 No Class. OSDI and Project Season
Mon 11/07 Project Discussions with TAs
Wed 11/09 Concurrency Control and Recovery
Bernstein's concurrency notes - MVCC, Coordination Avoidance Franklin97
Fri 11/11 No class
Part 7: Generalized Fault Tolerance and Security
Mon 11/14 Implementing Fault-Tolerant Services Using the State Machine Approach: a Tutorial
SigOps HoF paper Schneider90
Wed 11/16 No Class, Project Work
Fri 11/18 Project Meetings (all day)
Please schedule a 30 minute time slot for an Interim Project Report.
Mon 11/21 Paxos
Lamport's original Greek parable (SigOps HoF paper). Lamport's comments on original paper. Wikipedia Paxos article. Lamport01
Wed 11/23 No Class, Gobble Gobble
Fri 11/25 No Class, Gobble Gobble
Mon 11/28 The Byzantine Generals Problem
Lamport's comments on the Byzantine Generals paper. Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (OSDI'99) Lamport82
Wed 11/30 Reflections on Trusting Trust, Why Cryptosystems Fail, Crisis and Aftermath
SigOps HoF paper. Write summary only for Anderson94. Thompson84, Anderson94, Spafford89
Fri 12/02 No class
Mon 12/05 Highlights from the SOSP'15 History Day talks
SOSP'15 History Day
Wed 12/07 No class
Work on project and study for midterm
Fri 12/09 Midterm 2
Mon 12/12 Project Presentations
Tue 12/13 Project Presentations
Final report due before midnight tonight

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