CSCI 3323 (Principles of Operating Systems), Fall 2017:

Course description

This course introduces the fundamentals of operating systems design and implementation, following the guidelines established by the Association for Computing Machinery (described in Computer Science Curriculum 2013). Course topics include:

Basic information

Class meeting times and location


Instructor contact information

Office hours

A current schedule of office hours can be found on my home Web page ( If I'm not in my office during office hours, I should be somewhere in the CSI, perhaps in one of the labs helping another student, and there will often be a note on my door saying where to find me.

In addition to scheduled office hours, you're welcome to drop by and see if I'm in my office and free to talk, or you can make an appointment by calling me or sending me e-mail.

E-mail is almost always a good way to reach me; I normally check it fairly often and reply promptly.

Course materials

Web page

Most course-related information (this syllabus, homework and reading assignments, etc.) will be made available via the Web. The course Web page is a starting point for Web-accessible course material; you can find it linked from my home page ( or directly at


Course requirements


Grades in this course will be determined by scores on two major exams (a midterm and a final), several homework assignments, and class attendance/participation, weighted as follows.

Component Maximum points
Midterm exam 100
Final exam 200
Homework about 300
Class participation 20

Numeric grades will be calculated as a simple percentage, by dividing total points earned on the above components by total points possible. These numeric grades will then be converted to letter grades based on a curve, but in no case will the resulting letter grades be worse than students would receive based on the following scheme.

Numeric grade Letter grade
90 - 100 A-/A
80 - 89 B-/B/B+
70 - 79 C-/C/C+
60 - 69 D/D+
0 - 59 F


Exams are comprehensive but will emphasize the most recent material. They are scheduled as follows; please plan accordingly (i.e., avoid scheduling anything else for these times).

Homework assignments

Several homework assignments will be required for successful completion of this course. Some will require programming; others will not. Detailed requirements will be provided as part of each assignment; due dates will be announced via the course Web page. For programming assignments, you are strongly encouraged to use the department's network of Linux machines, but unless otherwise specified for individual assignments, you may use any other system that provides a suitable environment.


Regular class attendance is strongly encouraged; class participation grades will be based largely if not entirely on attendance. You can miss a week's worth of classes without penalty; after that, each unexcused absence reduces this part of your grade. If you must miss class for whatever reason, see the notes online for a summary of what you missed, including any announcements. It may also be helpful to check with a classmate for more about what we did in class.


Course-related announcements will sometimes be made by sending e-mail to the Trinity e-mail addresses of all registered students. Students are strongly encouraged to read mail sent to their Trinity addresses frequently.

Late and missed work

Exams can be made up only in cases of documented conflict with a university-sponsored activity, documented medical emergency, or conflict with a religious holiday.

Unless otherwise stated for a particular assignment, homework will be accepted up to one class period late, but no more, at a penalty of 10 percent off per working day. This penalty may be waived or additional time allowed at the instructor's discretion in cases of illness or conflict with a university-sponsored activity or religious holiday.

If you have unusual circumstances (as we all sometimes do), please discuss these with me as far in advance as possible.

Academic integrity at Trinity

All students are covered by a policy that prohibits dishonesty in academic work. Under the Honor Code, a faculty member will (or a student may) report an alleged violation to the Academic Honor Council. It is the task of the Council to investigate, adjudicate, and assign a punishment within certain guidelines if a violation has been verified. Students are required to pledge all written work that is submitted for a grade: ``On my honor, I have neither given nor received any unauthorized assistance on this work'' and their signature. The pledge may be abbreviated ``pledged'' with a signature. For electronically submitted work, you should include the text -- either the full version or just ``pledged'' -- somewhere in what you submit.

Collaboration and academic integrity in this course

Unless otherwise specified, all work submitted for a grade (homework assignments and exams) must represent the student's own individual effort. Unless otherwise stated, all submitted work will be considered pledged work.

Discussion of homework assignments among students is allowed, but not to the point where detailed answers are being written collectively. If you are working with other students in a lab, seeing another student's work may be unavoidable, but please do not share answers electronically. If you are uncertain about whether a particular level of collaboration is acceptable, please ask for clarification. You will be asked to document any collaboration; details will be provided with assignments.

Graded papers and sample solutions to exams and homeworks) from previous semesters, for this course or other courses I teach, are off limits. Answers that are identical beyond coincidence (either to another student's work or to a sample solution from a previous semester) will be considered to be in violation of the Honor Code, and will result in appropriate action. You are responsible for the security of your work, both electronic and hard copy.

Berna Massingill