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Operating System Foundations
Computer Laboratory > Course material 2002-03 > Operating System Foundations

Operating System Foundations

Principal lecturer: Dr Jean Bacon (
Taken by: Part II (General), Diploma

Past exam questions, but note that this course has changed .

An invariant is that it begins with an introduction to computer organisation (approximately four lectures) to prepare students for subsequent courses in the computer architecture area. This part is not emphasised in the exam questions, but is assumed background knowledge.

In 2000-01 and earlier, OS Foundations preceded courses on OS Functions and Distributed Systems and emphasised hardware-software synchronisation, processes, multi-threading and concurrency control. In 2001-02 the only one of these three courses offered to 2G and Diploma was the same as the Tripos Part 1A course on Operating Systems. After the introductory computer organisation, this mostly covers operating system functions.

In 2002-03 Operating Systems Foundations and Distributed Systems are offered. Distributed Systems is shared with Part 2 students. Comparing the course with last year's I have therefore cut down the detail on operating system functions in order to include essential material on multithreading and concurrency control.

For supervisions and revision, the exam questions from Operating Systems Foundations 2001-02 and Part 1A Operating Systems are most relevant. The Operating Systems Foundations questions from 2000-01 and earlier are relevant to Part 3 of this year's course, but some require more detail than is covered.

Here are the postscript and pdf versions of the course notes.

Here are some questions on memory management, discussed in the lecture on Weds Oct 30th., MemMgtQu.pdf.
Here is the handout on readers and writers concurrency control from Weds Nov 13th., RW.pdf. Here is the foil on Java concurrency control constructs from Weds Nov 13th., Java.pdf.