Operating Systems

University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory

Principal lecturer: Dr Timothy Harris (tlh20@cl.cam.ac.uk)
Taken by: Part IA (50% option), Part IA (25% option and Maths with CS)

Past exam questions


Slides for the course are available in ps.gz and pdf format. There are a number of minor (and inconsequential!) corrections to the slides:


The course is well served by past Tripos questions -- the questions from 1999 onwards are all relevant to the syllabus. If you are having two supervisions on the course, then a reasonable selection might be:

  • First supervision: process scheduling and memory management
  • Second supervision: I/O devices and file systems
  • I have prepared a set of additional questions for the first two lectures, available in ps.gz and pdf formats. The course was substantially revised in 1999 and so many of the questions before that are no longer relevant: 1998 Paper 1 Q4 and 1998 Paper 1 Q11 are two exceptions.


    There are a large number of books that cover the material for this course. Two that cover everything here and that will be useful for subsequent courses are:

    Concurrent Systems, Jean Bacon, 2nd Edition
    • Ch 1, 2 (introduction)
    • Ch 3 (hardware interface, I/O)
    • Ch 4 (processes)
    • Ch 6 (memory management)
    • Ch 7 (File management)
    • Ch 23 (UNIX case study)
    • Ch 25 (Windows NT case study)
    Operating System Concepts, Silberschatz, Galvin, Gagne, 6th Edition
    • Ch 1 (general introduction)
    • Ch 2 (system structure, I/O, busses)
    • Ch 3 (system calls, operating system services)
    • Ch 4 and Ch 6 (Processes, CPU scheduling)
    • Ch 9 (Memory management)
    • Ch 11 (File systems)
    • Ch 13 (I/O systems)

    Lecture schedule

    A detailed list of topics for each lecture is available in ps.gz and pdf formats. The outline schedule for the course will be:

    1. Thursday 25th April 2002Introduction (1-11)
    2. Saturday 27th April 2002Building everything from bits (12-26)
    3. Tuesday 30th April 2002Devices (27-36)
    4. Thursday 2nd May 2002Operating systems (37-51)
    5. Saturday 4th May 2002Processes (52-70)
    6. Tuesday 7th May 2002Memory management (71-80)
    7. Thursday 9th May 2002Pages and segments (81-94)
    8. Saturday 11th May 2002I/O hardware (95-105)
    9. Tuesday 14th May 2002File management (106-115)
    10. Thursday 16nd May 2002UNIX case study (116-130)
    11. Saturday 18th May 2002UNIX case study (131-143)
    12. Tuesday 21st May 2002Windows NT case study (144-156)

    Feedback is welcome at any time: either through the on-line comment system, by e-mail to me or through any of the other channels available.

    IA(50) | IA(25 & M+CS)

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