OSA Course

CMC541 Systems Architecture: Operating Systems Architecture


Modern operating systems represent prodigious feats of software engineering and draw on all areas of computer science. This component of the unit studies both the theoretical design concepts which underpin all operating systems and, through case-studies, the practical implementation techniques of current commercial operating systems.

Course Outline

    • Review of Operating Systems: Development and evolution, different types.

    • Computer architecture, I/O programming and resource management.

    • The concept of Process

    • Process Management: Process creation and switching. Scheduling

    • Memory Management: Address space issues, segmentation. Virtual memory.

    • Inter-process Communication; pipes

    • Deadlock: Conditions for deadlock and its avoidance.

    • Input-output systems: Programmed I/O, DMA, device drivers

    • File systems: File management, directories, RAID.

Teaching Method

By lectures, case studies, reading, assignments, exercises and class tests.



The OSA seminar/practical sessions are compulsory and run for two hours each week in Complab2 on Level 3 of the MHAC Buildings. Worksheets are provided below. You are expected to work through these as directed throughout the seminar/practical sessions. The tests must also be taken during the weekly seminar/practical sessions.



Ritchie, C. Operating Systems Incorporating UNIX and Windows. 4th ed Thomson ISBN 0-826-464165

(a basic text which covers most of the course topics. The 3rd edition is also fine).


Tanenbaum, A. Modern Operating Systems, Prentice Hall.

(a more advanced text than Ritchie with good coverage of recent and experimental systems).

Background and Supplementary

Deitel and Dietel. Operating Systems, Addison Wesley 0-13-12486-8

Silberschatz and Galvin, Operating System Concepts, Addison Wesley 0-201-54262-5

Stallings, Operating Systems / Internals and Design Principles, Pearson Educational 0-13-127837-1

Most students will want to purchase Ritchie and will find it useful to read at least one of the other titles.


This part of the study unit is assessed via the completion of:

    • 5 on-line tests 1 CATS point each - Note: there will be 6 on-line tests and students may opt to take all 6 and receive a mark based on their best 5. Students must take at least 5 tests; and failure to take at least 5 tests will result in a mark of zero for each missed test.

    • The tests will be based on lectures, practical exercises and investigations, and readings.

    • Multiple choice format.

    • Examination: 7 CATS points

    • After the lectures and seminars/practicals have finished.

    • Based on lectures, practical exercises and investigations, and readings.

    • Sample questions and mock exam available before Easter

Learning Outcomes

    • outline and discuss mechanisms and strategies within operating systems architectures

    • review models and processes in operating systems architectures

Cornelia Boldyreff and Andrea Capiluppi

University of Lincoln

January 2006