CMPU 334 Fall 2021


This course examines the theory and implementation of modern operating systems. Topics covered are processes and threads, context switching, synchronization, scheduling, deadlock, dynamic memory allocation, virtual memory, storage devices, and file system implementation.


  • CMPU-203
  • CMPU-224


Jason Waterman
Office: SP 104.4
Email: jawaterman
Office Hours: TBD or anytime my door is open.

Meeting Times

Tuesday and Thursday 3:10 pm to 4:25 pm in SP 309


Required: Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces


Grades will be weighted as follows:

  • There are two quizzes. The quiz that you do better on will count for 20% of your overall grade. The other quiz will be weighted less and count for 15% of your overall grade.
  • The final is a regularly scheduled final held during finals period.


I would really love to see you in each and every class. We’ll work on problems together during class and labs, and I will always leave time for questions. Our classes here at Vassar are small and coming to class is one of the best ways for you to learn the material.

I take attendance in class. When calculating your final grade in the course, if you are on the bubble between two grades, I use your attendance to decide weather to round your grade up or down.

If you know you ahead of time you will not be attending class, please let me know as soon as possible.

Electronic Devices in Class

Please turn off or put your phone on “airplane” or “do not disturb” mode. Many studies have found a mobile phone to be an impediment to learning in class. Phone use is a distraction to all members of the class — especially yourself. In addition, cognitive and behavioral scientists have found that electronic devices can erode ability to concentrate. Consider this class to be an oasis from your device. If you would like to use your laptop for taking notes in class you are welcome to do so, but please come and talk to me. The use of electronic devices for non-class related purposes is prohibited.

Slip Days

All assignments are due by the deadline stated on the assignment handout. You will receive a budget of five (5) slip days for the course. These slip days are provided to allow you to cope with most emergencies that prevent completing a lab on time, including computer problems, a cold, getting stuck at the airport, etc. Here is how slip days work:

  • Slip days are applied automatically until you run out. However, no more than two (2) slip days can be used on any one assignment.
  • Slip days work in 24 hour increments. If you use a slip day, the new due date will be 24 hours from the original date.
  • Slip days can only be used on assignments, not quizzes or finals.

Slip days are a tool to allow you to manage your time in the face of personal issues and to help smooth out burstiness in assignment due dates across classes. They are for when you are sick, when a short term emergency situation arises, when you have too many deadlines all at once, etc. Except for serious persistent personal issues (see below), you should not anticipate additional deadline leniency. We strongly recommend that you conserve your slip days, saving them for the more difficult assignments at the end of the term.

Dealing with Serious Persistent Personal Issues

I hope that everyone in this class will remain happy and healthy. But, if you have a serious persistent personal issue, such as being hospitalized for an extended period or needing to leave the country for a family matter, please talk to your class advisor in the dean of studies office as soon as possible. Such issues consistently affect one’s ability to succeed in all classes, rather than just CMPU 334, and the class advisors are equipped to coordinate plans for dealing with them. I will cooperate with such plans, but I cannot construct them independently of the class advisors.

Academic Integrity

Quizzes, exams and assignments must be the sole work of the student turning it in. Assignments will be closely monitored by automatic plagiarism detectors, including comparing turned-in code to the work of students from the same and previous semesters, and students may be asked to explain any suspicious similarities.

These plagiarism checkers are very effective, and they are not fooled by attempts to mask copying of code. Please don’t try your luck. Vassar policy dictates I must report all suspected incidents of cheating to the Dean of Studies and the minimum penalty for cheating is to be removed from the course with a failing grade.

No collaboration on exams is allowed in any form. The following are guidelines on what non-exam collaboration is authorized and what is not:

What is Cheating?

  • Sharing code or other electronic files: either by copying, retyping, looking at, or supplying a copy of a file from this or a previous semester. Also not allowed is verbal or other description of one person’s code to another. Be sure to store your work in protected directories, and log off when you leave classroom or lab computers, to prevent others from copying your work without your explicit assistance.
  • Sharing written assignments or exams: Looking at, copying, or supplying an assignment or exam.
  • Using other’s code. Using code from this or previous offerings of CMPU 334, from other courses at Vassar or other institutions, or from any other non-334 source (e.g., software or code found on the Internet).
  • Looking at other’s code. Although mentioned above, it bears repeating. Looking at other students’ code or allowing others to look at yours is cheating. This includes one person looking at code and describing it to another. There is no notion of looking “too much”, since no looking is allowed at all.

What is not Cheating?

  • Clarifying ambiguities or vague points in class handouts or textbooks.
  • Helping others use the computer systems, networks, compilers, debuggers, profilers, or other system facilities.
  • Using code from the textbook or from the class web pages is always OK.

Academic accommodations

Academic accommodations are available for students registered with the Office for Accessibility and Educational Opportunity (AEO). Students in need of disability (ADA/504) accommodations should schedule an appointment with me early in the semester to discuss any accommodations for this course that have been approved by the Office for Accessibility and Educational Opportunity, as indicated in your AEO accommodation letter.

Learning Environment

Vassar College is committed to providing a safe learning environment for all students that is free of all forms of discrimination and sexual harassment, including sexual assault, relationship abuse, and stalking. If you (or someone you know) has experienced or experiences any of these incidents, know that you are not alone. Vassar College has staff members trained to support you in navigating campus life, accessing health and counseling services, providing academic and housing accommodations, helping with legal protective orders, and more.

If you wish to speak to someone privately, you can contact any of the following on-campus resources:

  • Counseling Service, 845-437-5700
  • Health Service, 845-437-5800
  • Nicole Wong, SAVP (Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention) director, 845-437-7863
  • SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) advocate, available 24 hours 7 days a week by calling the CRC at 845-437-7333 and asking for SART

The SAVP website and the Title IX section of the EOAA website have more information, as well as links to both on- and off-campus resources.