Welcome to the Johns Hopkins University, Fall 2008 edition of 438.

This is a rough port-over to JHU from the CMU version of this course, namely 15-410. So if you see references to that laying around, you can blame me (I'm hiding behind the "staff" button to the left.)

The textbook is Operating System Concepts, by Silberschatz, Galvin, and Gagne. While the official text will be the new seventh edition, you can probably get by with the sixth or even maybe the fifth. We will not cover all of the text, and some topics (such as synchronization) will be taught in a different manner.

You may also find useful the CMU 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 Rob Pike and Brian Kernigan's The Practice of Programming, especially the first few chapters.

Until the semester actually begins, here is a self-assessment/warm-up exercise. This exercise is mandatory for incoming 438 students who have not passed Computer Systems Fundamentals, Unix Systems Programming, or Operating Systems, and is not a bad way for all incoming students to get back up to speed. In particular, this class assumes some level of comfort with X86 assembler that is not otherwise part of the JHU curriculum; however, familiarity with assembler in general should transfer pretty well.

  • Self-assessment exercise
  • Intel's Instruction Set Reference
  • [New!] Mid-term exam is Thursday, Feb. 28, from 6:30pm to 9:30pm in Wean 7500.

    [New!] Don't forget about the book report assignment!

    [New!] You are responsible for checking the official CMU final exam schedule and immediately notifying instructors of all affected courses about any conflicts. [New!]

    Please take this opportunity to read the syllabus. It really does answer questions you will have later in the course.

    [New!] The mid-term exam will be held Thursday, March 2nd from 18:30 until 21:30 (6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.) in Wean 7500. [New!]

    Project 1 has been released.

    [New!] The mid-term exam will be held Tuesday, October 11th from 20:00 until 23:00 (8:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m.) in Scaife 125, the "potato chip roof" auditorium. Unless you have received a piece of mail titled "15-410 conflict exam time slot", we are expecting you in the main exam session. It's a little later than I would have wished, but this time slot dramatically reduced the number of conflicts. [New!]

    [New!] The Projects page, including Project 0, has been released.

    The syllabus and draft schedule have been released.

    The mid-term examination will be 16:30-19:30 (aka 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) on Thursday, October 21st in Doherty Hall 2210.

    If you haven't yet, you really should go through the self-assessment.


    Virtutech graciously supports our educational mission by providing us with a free Simics license (more info).
    This website, the course mailing list ( http://lists.acm.jhu.edu/mailman/listinfo/cs438) and the local installation of Simics are generously hosted by the JHU ACM chapter.