George Mason University


CS 571 Operating Systems - Fall 2007

Instructor: Dr. Hakan Aydin


Description: This course covers the principles of operating systems theory and practice. Fundamental concepts such as processes, synchronization, scheduling and memory management will be presented. Another emphasis will be on the principles of distributed operating systems.

Prerequisites: CS 310 and CS 365, or equivalent. A solid background in Computer Architecture is required. In order to be able to work on the programming projects, the students must be comfortable with C/C++ or Java programming languages.

Meeting Times and Locations:


  • Section 001:  Wednesday  4.30 - 7.10 PM  ST I Room 126
  • Section 002:  Wednesday  4.30 - 7.10 PM  NET Section
  • Section 003:   Friday         1.30 - 4.10 PM  Innovation Hall Room 136 

Required Textbook: "Operating System Concepts", by Silberschatz, Galvin and Gagne (7th Edition, John Wiley & Sons 2005, ISBN 0-471-69466-5).
"Modern Operating Systems" (2nd edition, Prentice Hall 2001, ISBN: 0-13-031358-0), by A. S. Tanenbaum is another good book on the principles of operating systems.
As additional reference on distributed systems, the following book can be recommended: "Distributed Systems: Concept and Design" (4th Edition, Addison-Wesley 2005, ISBN 0321263545), by Coulouris, Dollimore and Kindberg.

Office Hours: Wednesday: 7.20 PM - 8.20 PM, Friday: 4.30 PM – 5.30 PM, and by appointment (Office: ST II, Room 401)


Teaching Assistant (TA): Zhaohui Wang (

TA Office Hours: Wednesday: 2.00 PM - 4.00 PM, Friday: 11.15 AM – 1.15 PM  (TA Office: ST II, Room 365)

Course Web Page:


  • Introduction, Threads and Processes
  • Interprocess Communication, Synchronization
  • CPU Scheduling
  • Memory Management
  • File and I/0 Systems
  • Protection and Security
  • Distributed System Structures
  • Distributed Coordination
  • Fault Tolerance,  Real-time Computing


Tentative Exam Dates:


  • Midterm:  October 17 (Section 001 and 002); October 19 (Section 003)
  • Final: December 12 (Section 001 and 002); December 14 (Section 003)



  • Midterm 30%
  • Final 35%
  • Programming Projects 35%


The students must achieve a total score of at least 85 (out of 100) to be considered for an A. No early exams will be given and make-up exams are strongly discouraged.
GMU Honor Code will be enforced. The students are supposed to work individually on the assignments/projects. Collaboration will be allowed only for the group projects, within each group. We reserve the right to use MOSS to detect plagiarism. Violations of GMU Honor Code or a total score of 49 (or less) will result in an F.


The material presented in all sections will be identical. The students should make every effort to attend the section they are signed up for. It is expected that the project assignments will be also identical for all the sections. However, since it is not possible to give the exams at the same time, the Wednesday and Friday sections will have different midterm and final exams. Each student must take the midterm and final exams with his/her section. 

Computer Accounts: All students should have accounts on the central Mason Unix system (also known as and  on IT&E Unix cluster (Instructions and related links are here). Students can  work in  IT&E computer labs  for programming projects during the specified hours.


Distance Education Session:  CS 571 Fall 2007 session will be simultaneously offered to GMU Distance Education students. The distance education students will be given the midterm and final exam in campus, on the same day as Section 001 (Wednesday Section) students. The location of exams will be announced in due course.

The due dates for the assignments will be the same  for Section 001 and Distance Education (Section 002) students. Each project will have a soft copy and hard copy component that must be submitted by the date specified on the project handouts. Students in all sections will be required to give the demo of the last programming project in person, in the instructor’s office.

The course  is delivered to the Internet section online by Network EducationWare (NEW),  developed by Prof. Mark Pullen and his students at GMU.  

Students in all sections will have accounts on NEW and will be able to play back the lectures and download the PDF slide files at

Students enrolled to the on-line (distance education) section can find  detailed information about the system, requirements and installation/connection issues  at  Distance Education Web Page (  If you are not able find an answer to a technical issue regarding the NEW software, please send e-mail to