George Mason University


CS 571 Operating Systems - Summer 2009

Instructor: Jim X. Chen


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 materials; 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:



Required Textbook: "Operating System Concepts", by Silberschatz, Galvin and Gagne (7th Edition, John Wiley & Sons 2005, ISBN 0-471-69466-5).

"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: MWF 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM, or by appointment (Office: Engineering, 4445)


Teaching Assistant (TA) :  Hao Sun (

TA Office Hours: TU & TH 8:00 PM-9:00 PM in Eng 4456

TA Office: Eng 4456


Course Web Page:



Tentative Exam Dates:




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). 
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.

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.



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.