George Mason University


CS 571 Operating Systems - Spring 2010

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 465, or equivalent. A solid background in Computer Architecture is required. The coursework will include substantial programming projects; in order to be able to work on these, the students must  be comfortable with C/C++ or Java programming languages.


Meeting Times and Locations:


  • Section 001:    Wednesday  4:30 – 7:10 PM  ENGR Room 4457
  • Section DL1:  Wednesday  4:30 – 7:10 PM  NET Section

Required Textbook: "Operating System Concepts", by Silberschatz, Galvin and Gagne (8th Edition, John Wiley & Sons 2008, ISBN 978-0-470-12872-5).
"Modern Operating Systems" (3rd edition, Prentice Hall 2008, ISBN: 0-13-600663-9) 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 and by appointment (Office: Engineering Building, Room 5308)


Teaching Assistant  (TA):  Nour Aulabi (

TA Office Hours:  Monday & Tuesday, 5:30 – 7:30 PM

TA Office: Engineering Building, Room 4456


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: March 3
  • Final:  May 5



  • 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.  A student should present an official and verifiable excuse to miss an exam (such as a doctor's note). 
All students must abide by the GMU Honor Code  and CS Department's Honor Code and Academic Integrity Policies during the semester. 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 automated tools such as MOSS to detect plagiarism. Violations of the Honor Code or a total score of 49 (or less) will result in an F.

Computer Accounts: All students should have accounts on the central Mason Unix system  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 Spring 2010 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.

The due dates for the assignments will be the same  for Section 001 and Distance Education (DL1) 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


Disability Statement: If you have a learning or physical difference that may affect your academic work, you will need to furnish appropriate documentation to GMU Disability Resource Center.  If you qualify for accommodation, the DRC staff will give you a form detailing appropriate accommodations for your instructor. If you have such a condition, you must talk to the instructor during the first week of the term about the issue.