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University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory
Operating System Foundations
Computer Laboratory > Course material 2006-07 > Operating System Foundations

Operating System Foundations

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

Past exam questions
but note that this course has changed over the years.
An invariant is that it begins with an introduction to computer organisation (three-to-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, it mostly covered operating system functions.

Since then, Operating Systems Foundations and Distributed Systems have been offered. Distributed Systems is shared with Part 2 students. I therefore cut down the detail on operating system functions in order to include essential material on multithreading and concurrency control. This year's course will have the same structure.

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

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

"Operating Systems, Concurrent and Distributed Software Design" by Jean Bacon and Tim Harris, Addison Wesley 2003, is relevant to this course.
Each chapter has exercises. There is a web-browsable Instructor's Guide which is normally for teachers only, password-protected, via Addison Wesley. It is available - here - *for local use only*. Please respect this.

The IEEE Computer Society made a timeline of the history of computing for their 50th anniversary in 1996. It's on their website http://www.computer.org/ under CAREER DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION/History of Computing, and a copy is here: ieeeTimeline.pdf.

Here is the text (without figures and as a DOC file) for Chapter 27 of Operating Systems on WindowsNT/2000XP to supplement the lecture notes.