CS270 -- Operating Your Systems Topically in an Advanced Way

Rich Wolski --- Fall, 2023


CS270 Links of Meaning

Adding the Class

If you wish to add this class, and you need an add code from me to do so, you will need to speak with me after a lecture or during office hours. The main criterion (aside from classroom space) will be whether you have had an undergraduate operating systems class or there is sufficient professional experience in your background (e.g. you "know" Linux). A quick conversation will be all that is needed to understand whether your level of familiarity with the basic concepts is sufficient to make this class a rewarding experience.

Also, I will not be handing out add codes until after we begin meeting for lectures at the beginning of the class.


Please sign up for CS270 Fall 2023 on Piazza. We will be using it as our on-line method of communication this quarter.


There are three overall pedagogic objectives for this course. The first is is for you, the student of the first part, develop an understanding of the structure and design principles inherent in different "successful" operating systems. Secondly, the course provides an opportunity for you to develop critical reading and presentation skills (at least with respect to the discipline of systems research but hopefully in general). Lastly, the course will furnish you with an research experience that is intended both to cement the understanding fostered by the previous two objectives, and to serve as a potential starting point for further research in this area.

Course Reading, Paper Insights, and Class Participation

After the first lectures on the class project, the bulk of the lecture component for the course will center on discussion of the papers shown in the reading list according to the schedule listed there. Your instructor will present some introductory material for each paper, and then will lead a group discussion by actively engaging you in the analysis and critique of each work. Participation in this portion of the course is worth approximately 50% of the final course grade so it is important to attend each lecture and to come prepared to discuss the specified paper or papers.

Course Texts

The required reading material for the course can be found on the reading list. In addition, there are three text books may prove useful, but which are by no means mandatory. They are These texts contain background information that can help illuminate some of the more dense concepts presented in the readings. The specific editions listed are ones that are currently available, but older additions will certainly suffice. To repeat, however, these references are optional.

Class Project

The course also includes a final class project that will give you the opportunity to elucidate some of the concepts embodied in the readings and discussions.

On the final day of lecture, you will present and demonstrate your project to your instructor and a small panel of experts (the demonstration date may slip until the final exam period, depending on course progress, the availability of the panel, and student preference). Because of the nature of the project (see the project description for details), it will not be possible to schedule demonstrations outside the demonstration period. Thus it is imperative that you plan to attend both the during the time period your demonstration is scheduled. While I will assign (at random) the specific demonstration time slots, all demonstrations will take place during the last two lecture periods of the quarter. Please be sure that these days are available in your schedule.

Grading Summary

In summary, the grades will be assigned as follows: