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15-410, Operating System Design and Implementation


Welcome to the Fall 2015 edition of 15-410.

FAQ

Wait list
This course is usually full, so it is very possible that you will not be able to take it the first time you want to. Please note that the wait list is not a FIFO queue; students will be accepted from the wait list according to our best estimate of readiness to successfully complete the class, moderated to some extent by urgency. Your numerical position on the registrar's wait list is irrelevant. Please do not send us mail about your numerical position on the registrar's wait list.
Getting off the wait list
If you are concerned about getting into the class, probably the best way to improve your chances is via your academic advisor: if your advisor makes the case to us that you are solidly prepared and that this course is important to your educational objectives, that will help. This is not a skippable step. If your advisor doesn't understand the objectives and time commitment of this class and your educational objectives well enough to affirmatively recommend that you should take this course this semester, you should discuss these topics with your advisor before contacting us about getting into the class.
Auditing
This course is usually full, and we generally receive many more requests to audit than we can accept. If you wish to audit, please have your advisor contact us before the semester begins to discuss how auditing might meet your educational goals.

Textbook

The traditional textbook is Operating System Concepts, by Silberschatz, Galvin, and Gagne. If you are buying a new book, it may make sense to get the 2011 "update" of the new eighth edition if you are most concerned about retail value. If you are buying a used book, however, you will probably find the seventh and sixth editions cheaper. Either one may be used (what you get out of the textbook depends more on how much time you spend with it than on which edition you have). Avoid some of the stranger sub-editions, e.d., "Essentials" or "with Java". We will not cover all of the text, and some topics (such as synchronization) will be taught using additional material. Rumor has it that the OSC text is available (purchase or rental) as an e-book from at least one major e-book vendor. As we have no experience with this format, if you try it, please let us know whether you like it.

The experimental textbook is Operating Systems: Principles and Practice by Anderson and Dahlin. Since this book is in beta, it is mostly available online:

You may also find useful the 15-213 textbook, Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective; the K&R C book; and perhaps C Traps and Pitfalls. An excellent source of suggestions for programming style and structure is Brian Kernigan and Rob Pike's The Practice of Programming, especially the first few chapters.

Warm-up

Until the semester actually begins, here is a self-assessment/warm-up exercise. This exercise is mandatory for incoming 410 students who have not passed 15-213 and is not a bad way for all incoming students to get back up to speed.

  • 15-410 self-assessment exercise
  • Prerequisite/self-assessment status form
  • Intel's Instruction Set Reference