Operating System Foundations

University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory

Principal lecturer: Dr G.M. Bierman (gmb@cl.cam.ac.uk)
Taken by: Part II (General), Diploma
Number of lectures: 16
Lecture location: Hopkinson Lecture Room
Lecture times: 12:00 on MWF starting 05-Oct-01


The overall aim of this course is to provide a general understanding of how a computer works. This includes aspects of the underlying hardware as well as the structure and key functions of the operating system. Case studies will be used to illustrate and reinforce fundamental concepts.


At the end of the course students should be able to

Syllabus and Timetable

Lecture One: Introduction and History

Date given: Friday 5th October
Slides covered: i-iii & 1-5
Actual slides used: ps (4up) pdf (4up)

Lecture Two: Simple Computer Architecture I

Date given: Monday 8th October
Slides covered: 6-15
Actual slides used: ps (4up) pdf (4up)

Lecture Three: Simple Computer Architecture II

Date given: Wednesday 10th October
Slides covered: 16-26
Actual slides used: ps (4up) pdf (4up)

Read about Intel's new 64-bit architecture here

Lecture Four: Buses and I/O Devices

Date given: Friday 12th October
Slides covered: 27-36
Actual slides used: ps (4up) pdf (4up)

Lecture Five: Operating Systems: The Basics

Date given: Monday 15th October
Slides covered: 37-51
Actual slides used: ps (4up) pdf (4up)

Lecture Six: Processes I: The Basics

Date given: Wednesday 17th October
Slides covered: 52-59
Actual slides used: ps (4up) pdf (4up)
Example C code for a (forking) Unix process shown in lecture can also be found here.

Lecture Seven: Processes II: CPU Scheduling

Date given: Friday 19th October
Slides covered: 60-70
Actual slides used: ps (4up) pdf (4up)

Lecture Eight: Memory Management I : Introduction

Date given: Monday 22nd October
Slides covered: 71-80
Actual slides used: ps (4up) pdf (4up)

Lecture Nine: Memory Management II: Paging and Segmentation

Date given: Wednesday 24th October
Slides covered: 81-94
Actual slides used: ps (4up) pdf (4up)

Lecture Ten: I/O

Date given: Friday 26th October
Slides covered: 95-104 (and 92-93 from previous lecture)
Actual slides used: ps (4up) pdf (4up)

Lecture Eleven: File Management

Date given: Monday 29th October
Slides covered: 105-115
Actual slides used: ps (4up) pdf (4up)

Lecture Twelve: Case Study I: Unix

Date given: Wednesday 31st October
Slides covered: 116-130
Actual slides used: ps (4up) pdf (4up)
Supporting Material (local copies):

Lecture Thirteen: Case Study I: Unix cont.

Date given: Friday 2nd November
Slides covered: 131-143 (and 128-130 from previous lecture)
Actual slides used: ps (4up) pdf (4up)

Lecture Fourteen: Case Study II: Windows NT

Date given: Monday 5th November
Slides covered: 144-155
Actual slides used: ps (4up) pdf (4up)

Lecture Fifteen: Revision

We went over last years exam questions:

Lecture Sixteen

This lecture was cancelled!

Lecture Notes

If you really want another copy of the handouts, here they are (4up, ps).

Feedback Form

Please help us to improve this course. You can download a copy of the feedback form here (Word format). Please fill it in and return it to the Student Administrator, Lise Gough, GC04, William Gates Building.

Supervision Guide

WARNING: This course has changed completely since last year. It is now synchronised with the 1a Operating Systems course - this year to be taught by Tim Harris in the Easter Term. As a consequence, the relevant Tripos questions to be used for supervisions, and revision can be found here.

If you look at the actual slides used (links above) you will see that I have included aims at the start of each lecture, and objectives at the end. You can use the list of objectives as a tick list to make sure you've covered at least the important points of the lecture.

I have also included some references at the end of each lecture for further reading. Most of these refer to the Hennessy/Patterson and Silberschatz et al. books. I strongly recommend that you do some background reading - operating systems form a huge (and interesting!) area of Computer Science, and there's lots of material that we can't cover in a small, introductory course.

Supervisors: Please do not go over last year's (2001) questions with your students - I plan to use these in my revision lecture.

II(G) | Dip

Provisional information only
Generated at 11:07.58 on 19/9/2001