Spring 2019 — 3.0 Units
2019-01-17 through 2019-05-09
Class time: Tue/Thu, 17:45 – 19:00
Class Location: Doolan Hall 222
Lab Mgr.: Masao Kitimura
Doolan 104, 310.338.8100
Dept. Admin.: Jacqi Davis
Doolan 101, 310.338.7351
Prerequisite[s]: CMSI 284
or consent of Instructor/Dept. Chair
Instructor: B.J. Johnson
Office Hours: Mon, 14:30 - 18:30
Tue & Thur, 13:00 - 14:30
Tue & Thur, 16:15 - 17:30
Wed, 14:30 - 16:00
Office Location: Doolan 220

[Dedicated to the memory of Professor Phil Dorin, teacher, mentor and friend.]

Course Description from the Latest University Bulletin

Concepts in the design of operating systems, including: processes, process management, mutual exclusion, synchronization and message-passing; primary memory management, multiprogramming, paged allocation and paging policies; resource and I/O management; file systems, and security.


This class uses the C language for its concrete examples, homework, and exams. There will be some class time spent on introductory-level C programming. You are more than welcome to ask for whatever clarification you need at any time, either in class or out. If you require additional practice with C, there are any number of online tutorials which you can use to hone your skills. In addition you can use other professors' web sites [either LMU or other schools] and things like Code Academy, Kahn Academy, codingbat.com, and good old Stack Overflow to help you when you are stuck.

Note that the course description above is not very specific.... there is more detail below!

Programming, like anything else, takes practice and perseverance. You must be willing to make mistakes, to learn how to fix them, and to learn not to be afraid of them. Humans [and now even computers!] learn by making mistakes, and this is the place to do so without fear.

Course Goals, Objectives, and Learning Outcomes

The goal of this course

When you finish the course, you will be able to:

What You'll Need for Success

In a nutshell, here's what you'll need to do to be successful in this course:

Expected Workload

In accordance with the LMU Credit Hour Policy, this 3-unit course will require 9 hours of work per week, which includes the time spent in class and lab sessions. This work will consist of homework, a project, watching and commenting on some videos about databases and related topics, and reading/study of textbook material.

…and *I* promise to:

Textbooks and Resources

There are two textbooks for this course. The first is required, the second is optional:

The first book is a free textbook which I have downloaded and put on my GitHub repo; because it is quite literally a free book, you may use for reading and reference and may even download your own copy. In spite of the fact that it is somewhat dated, the concepts in it are fundamental to the understanding of operating systems, and they are presented clearly so you can understand them rather easily. Besides, it's free.

The other book will be used for ancillary material. It is VERY good for you to have a copy on your own programmer's bookshelf in some form, because it is full of lessons to help you write high-quality and easily maintained code.

THE BOOKS ARE NOT AVAILABLE IN THE LMU BOOKSTORE. They are available at many other fine retail outlets, both online and brick-and-mortar. We will be using them for homework assignments, and for general reading and information.

Although we won't be covering the books in their entirety for this class, we will be using them as primary resources.

There is also a large number of other resources which can be used to "mine the gold" for related information about data structures. The topic is a very broad field, which has been around for a very long time, and touches almost every aspect of compjuter science. Any google search on data structures will turn up at least ten million links. Many of these will be shared during class, and you will be required to find some information about specific topics on your own. You may even be required to use the LMU library, [GASP!!] so be prepared!

General Course Topics Outline

A list of topics that are covered, and the approximate order and time frame in which they will be discussed, is available on the class notes page for this site.

Reading Assignments

Chapter readings from the text books and the dates by which these readings should be completed are listed below. Note that you should have read the chapter material prior to the date listed, and you should be ready to discuss the text, ask questions about the concepts, and begin working with some of the implementations of the concepts in class. It is also a good idea to at least read (or preferably try) the exercises contained in [and at the end of] each chapter.

Here is the reading list:

  1. Week 1: Nothing assigned to read
  2. Week 2: chapters 1 & 2, pp. 1 – 44
  3. Week 3: chapter 3, pp. 45 – 91
  4. Week 4: chapter 4, pp. 93 – 158
  5. Week 5: Nothing assigned to read
  6. Week 6: chapter 6, pp. 207 – 268
  7. Week 7: chapter 5, pp. 159 – 206
  8. Week 8: chapter 7, pp. 269 – 327
  9. Week 9: Nothing assigned to read
  10. Week 10: Nothing assigned to read
  11. Week 11: chapter 8, pp. 329 – 390
  12. Week 12: Nothing assigned to read
  13. Week 13: chapter 10, pp. 443 – 472
  14. Week 14: chapter 9, pp. 391 – 442

Homework Assignments

All written homework assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the date they are due. Deviation from this process requires prior consent of the instructor. I left my homework at home is not a valid reason for late work. This is college, and you can be responsible for remembering what you need to remember. Every effort is made to ensure assignments, required deliverables, and due dates are prominently posted on these pages; it is your responsibility to make sure you know what is due and when it is due.

You may certainly turn assignments in late; I will happily accept them, but they will be reduced in grade by one letter for each day they are late. Day means day, not workday or class day; an A+ homework due on Thursday which is not turned in until the following Tuesday will unfortunately only earn a failing grade, unless some prior arrangements are made with the instructor due to illness or some major schedule conflict. However, if you want to turn something in late, I'll still provide feedback even for assignments which have no chance of any credit; I keep this policy to allow you to get the learning benefit of the assignment even if you don't get a grade for it. My philosophy is that it is important for the students to know the material, even if an assignment doesn't get the best marks.

All assignments which are to be printed out for submission must be printed on a printer. Details for this requirement are provided for each assignment on the individual assignment's page. All assignments must use proper American English and/or Programming Language spelling and grammar. Failure to do so will cost you a letter grade, so get a spell-checker and a grammar checker, or find a friend who is proficient to proofread your work before it is submitted.

Other than these simple rules, there are no requirements for formatting, fonts, colors, diagrams, or anything else with respect to your homework assignments, other than good code craftsperson-ship.

There will be three homework assignments during the semester, due on the dates shown in the list below. Each assignment will contain several excersises to help give you experience with the concepts covered. Each of these assignments is detailed on a separate web page; they are available from the links below. Solutions will be provided after ALL the assignments are handed in. This policy provides a motivation for everyone to turn assignments in on time, since NO ONE gets the solutions until EVERYONE has submitted their work. Homework will be done in pairs, since much of the homework involves programming assignments. It is EXPECTED that you will work independently from other groups, although discussion of the concepts is encouraged. Computer science is a collaborative enterprise, but you will be responsible for your own work on the submission of all your assignments. Each link below takes you to the web page for that assignment

  1. Homework #1 — Due date 2019-02-07 [week 04]
  2. Homework #2 — Due date 2019-03-07 [week 08]
  3. Homework #3 — Due date 2019-04-04 [week 12]

Exams, Quizzes, and Projects

There will be no formal quizzes. There will be no midterm exam. There will be no final exam. Grades for the course will come from your homework assignments, your participation in the class including in-class exercises, and your semester project.

There will be a semester project for this course. You will be required to download and install a copy of Linux from source code. This means you will need a virtual machine for your computer. The semester project will include documenting and implementing some functionality into the Linux kernel, and demonstrating it to the class in some fashion. The final project due date is the week before finals week, so you will have the entire semester to implement it. The project is to be done using triumvirate programming which means you will be working with two partners on this effort for the entire semester. Your homework will be done using the same group as your project group, so there will be three of you collaborating on the homework assignments, too.

Use of Technology

You will need access to a computer of some variety. Duh.

If you don't have a computer available, or if you just don't want to carry it around, there are plenty of computers of all types in the Keck Lab, Doolan 112. However, they may not all have the desired software installed. Caveat Emptor.

Attendance and Participation

Although attendance is not mandatory, it is in your own best interest to attend every class. Much of the material will be discussed and elaborated upon in class, so counting on the books for all required information will not provide you with complete information. In addition, there will be in-class exercises in small groups which you will miss out on if you are not there.

Obviously, if you skip too many classes, you will likely fail; this is a simple and self-fulfilling prophecy.

The class participation rubric appears with the grading stuff in the tables below.

Extra Credit

There will be no extra credit given in this course.


Grades for the course are assigned according to the weighting factors shown in the tables below.

Final letter grades will be assigned based on the following scale:

PercentLetterRating and Achievement
91 - 100% A- / A Professional quality work; outstanding
81 - 90% B- / B / B+ Entry-level quality work; above average, shows extra effort and interest
71 - 80% C- / C / C+ Satisfactory work; expected with reasonable effort
61 - 70% D Substandard work; minimal effort shown
60 or lessF Thank you for playing; see you next semester

Evaluation ItemWeight
Homework [total, all 3]30%
Final Project 60%
Class Participation 10%

Class Participation CriteriaValue
Absent *without* prior notification/agreement of professor 0
Absent *with* prior consent/agreement of professor 3
Demonstrates adequate preparation with respect to readings and other materials;
Offers pertinent analysis, synthesis, and evaluation; puts together pieces of the discussion
to develop new approaches that take the class further.
If you're in your chair, the points are there

Starting Fall 2016: Minimum Grade Requirement for LMU Core Curriculum Courses

Effective Fall 2016: To satisfy a Core requirement (other than a flag requirement), a course must be completed with a grade of C- or better. To satisfy a flag requirement, a course must be completed with a grade of D or better. Baccalaureate Degree Requirements, 2016-17 University Bulletin.
Should a student receive a D in a Core Curriculum course, the student will earn the course units, but the Core Curriculum requirement (except for flags) will not be met.
Important to Note: This policy does not affect any grade received prior to Fall 2016. Those grades of D earned in Core Curriculum courses prior to Fall 2016 will remain on record as having met the Core Curriculum requirement. This policy only affects grades awarded in Fall 2016 and beyond.

Also of note…

An incomplete will be granted only when the student requesting the incomplete has completed at least 80% of the coursework, and has at least a B average in the course work completed. This is standard LMU policy.

Leave of Absence/Withdrawal:

Please read the revised policy on the top right of page 38 of the University Bulletin. A PDF copy is available here.

All work is evaluated for both technical merit and quality of written and/or oral presentation. Find yourself a good spelling and grammar checker, or a trusted human editor, if you are having any difficulty with the rules of standard English language usage. Another excellent resource is the Academic Resource Center, located on the south side of Daum Hall. The center takes appointments, and also allows drop-in consultation sessions, and they have a number of good benefits. Call (310) 338-2847 to schedule an appointment. (For those that don't know, Daum Hall is the building where the LMU Security and Parking office used to be. ARC is on the second floor.)

Another thing to remember is, your coding style is an important part of your assignment evaluations. I WILL NOT HESITATE to take points off for code that has hard-coded number


In this class, documentation which is not of professional quality is no longer acceptable. Spelling, grammar, and internal document consistency all count and will cost you big-time if not correct! I will not hesitate to knock off a full letter grade on an otherwise perfectly correct assignment if there are egregious and/or numerous spelling/grammar errors. In addition, coding style will play a large part in determining the grade on the code for the homework and project. It is the job of each student to properly structure, comment, and indent, to select the proper names for variables, and to not hard-code values. NO MAGIC NUMBERS!


Academic Honesty and Integrity

Academic dishonesty will be treated as an extremely serious matter with severe consequences that can range from receiving no credit for assignments/tests, failing the class, to expulsion. It is never permissible to turn in any work that has not been authored by the student, such as work that has been copied from another student or copied from a source (including the Internet) without properly acknowledging the source. It is your responsibility to make sure that your work meets the standard set forth in the Academic Honesty Policy (see http://academics.lmu.edu/honesty.)

Cheating on assignments, plagiarism, falsification of data, and other similar or related violations of LMU standards of honesty and integrity ARE NOT TOLERATED. Any student or students who commit such offences will receive a failing grade for that assignment, possibly a failing grade for the course, and conceivably further disciplinary action. It is acceptable to use code from textbooks, friends, coworkers, or other sources, as long as the source of the code is cited/acknowledged in all reports and source file headers.

This does not mean that collaboration is discouraged; in fact, the "pair programming" paradigm is encouraged. However, this does mean that exact duplicates of reviews and write-ups turned in by more than one student as individual work, or uncited copying from the Internet or any other source, will not be allowed. Such a situation will be dealt with in the manner outlined above. In short, if you are responsible for your own work, do your own work.

Repeat: failure to follow this simple guideline will result in a failing grade on that assignment, likely failing grade in the course, and quite possibly further disciplinary action.

Special Accommodations

Students with special needs who require reasonable modifications, special assistance, or accommodations in this course should promptly direct their request to the Disability Support Services (DSS) Office. Any student who currently has a documented disability (ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Learning, Physical, or Psychiatric) needing academic accommodations should contact the DSS Office (Daum Hall 2nd floor, 310-338-4216) as early in the semester as possible. All discussions will remain confidential. Please visit http://www.lmu.edu/dss for additional information.

Respect For Self And Others

As an LMU Lion, by the Lion's code, you are pledged to join the discourse of the academy with honesty of voice and integrity of scholarship and to show respect for staff, professors, and other students.

The following LMU documents are available to reference:

For more information on this or any other conduct issues, please refer to the Student Codes and Policies section in the Community Standards. The Lion's Code, Student Conduct Code, Honor Code and Process, and information on many other policies are available from that link. You can find any and all other related data from the Office of Student Conduct & Community Responsibility web page. Also check the main Student Affairs Departments Website.

Expectations for Classroom Behavior

Electronic Devices: Without being totalitarian about it, because I forget sometimes myself, but I would prefer that you turn off your cell phone ringer during class. Cell phone ring tones and text message tones can become disruptive. If you have a laptop, I don't mind if you want to IM with your friends or surf the Internet during class time, but be aware that will not be accepted as a valid excuse if you are called on and don't know what we're talking about — this could be a contributing factor for a low class participation grade for that day, but it's really up to you to decide. Just please keep the volume off so that you don't disturb others.

Emergency Preparedness

To report an emergency or suspicious activity, contact the LMU Department of Public Safety by phone (x222 or 310-338-2893) or at the nearest emergency call box. In the event of an evacuation, follow the evacuation signage throughout the building to the designated safe refuge area where you will receive further instruction from Public Safety or a Building Captain. For more safety information and preparedness tips, visit http://www.lmu.edu/emergency.

Office Hours / Communication / Contact Information

I have office hours during the days when I have classes, Monday through Thursday. The normal hours are listed at the top of this syllabus page. I will make every effort to be available during those hours, and if I cannot for some emergency reason, I'll make sure you all know about it in advance if possible. My office is Doolan 220, on the second floor, and the normal office hours are posted on the small cork bulletin board to the right as you are facing the door. Office hour data is posted there in redundancy to the posted hours on this syllabus page. Brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.

Every effort will be made to be availble during these posted hours. If something changes, I will notify you in advance, when possible and as soon as possible, via an e-mail blast.

In addition, if you want specific [undivided] attention, you can set up appointments at my You Can Book Me site. Just visit the page and click on any available slot (which isn't greyed out), then enter your information in the window fields. We will both get a confirmation e-mail, which is my notification that you'll be coming in. Easy, huh!?

I am also always available by e-mail at either of the following addresses:

I check email at both these addresses at least twice a day, usually three times a day. In addition I am frequently on line for AIM chat sessions after 9:00 PM; my screen name is NanoBeej, or for Google chat sessions at the above address..

YOU SHOULD CHECK YOUR LION EMAIL ADDRESS OF RECORD. I will start by sending all email blasts to everyone's lion.lmu.edu email addresses. If you specifically provide me with a preferred alternative email to use I will be happy to oblige. I create a distribution list to which I send all general communications, so it is important for me to have an email address which you will check on a regular basis.

Tentative Nature of the Syllabus

If necessary, this syllabus and its contents are subject to revision; students are responsible for keeping up with any changes or modifications, which will be distributed either in class or using the normal (specified) communications channels previously described (usually via e-mail).