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Operating systems, 7.5 Credits

Swedish name: Operativsystem

This syllabus is valid: 2018-12-31 and until further notice

Course code: 5DV171

Credit points: 7.5

Education level: First cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Computing Science: First cycle, has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: TH teknisk betygsskala

Responsible department: Department of Computing Science

Revised by: Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 2018-12-21


The goal of the course is to introduce the students to modern operating systems design. Both practical and theoretical aspects of operating Systems will be studied. The course will cover 5 main topics, namely,

Topic 1: Introduction
This module will provide a top level description of modern operating systems.

Topic 2: kernels and processes 
Introduces the students to the design and implementation of different operating system kernels in some detail.

Topic 3: concurrency, synchronization and scheduling
The module covers threads and the semantics of concurrency, synchronization of multi-threaded programs, deadlocks, race conditions, processor scheduling and other related topics.

Topic 4: memory management
The fourth module cover topics related to memory such as hardware and software address translation mechanisms, caching and virtual memory. 

Topic 5: I/O and File Systems
This module introduces  the File system abstraction, different storage devices and filesystems 

Expected learning outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding
After completing the course the student should be able to: 

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the different modules in a modern Operating System (OS) in general. (FSR 1)
  • exemplify and explain how the kernel of an OS is designed, and how it works including being able to explain what a process is, the interaction between the kernel and the hardware, user mode vs. kernel mode and process management (FSR 2)
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how concurrency in OS is handled including thread abstraction, synchronizing access to shared objects, resources and scheduling in the OS (FSR 3)
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how memory is managed in an OS. This includes address translation, caching, virtual memory, cache misses and replacement policies. (FSR 4)
  • explain how persistent storage is handled by the OS (FSR 5)

Skills and Abilities
After completing the course the student should be able to: 

  • demonstrate practical skills in kernel hacking and developing OS modules for the kernel. (FSR 6)
  • solve problems in groups and adapting to changes in the group setting  (FSR 7)
  • demonstrate an ability to deal with large and complex code bases for complex softwares. (FSR 8)

Values and attitudes
After completing the course the student should be able to: 

  • during problem solving, identify areas where the student needs further knowledge, find relevant information and apply it to the problem (FSR 9) 

Required Knowledge

To be admitted you must have 60 ECTS-credits in Computing Science or 2 years of completed studies, in both cases including good knowledge and experience of the programming language C, including working with threads. You should also have knowledge and experiences of programming directly with/to an operatingsystem. These requirements are fulfilled by the course C-programming and Unix or equivalent.

Form of instruction

Instruction consists of lectures, group exercises, and mandatory assignments. In addition to scheduled activities, individual work with the material is also required.


Examination modes

The student is assessed in three different ways: assignments, a project done in groups of students and a written exam. On the whole course one of the grades Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with merit (4) or Pass with distinction (5) is given. The number of assignments depends on their content. Normally there are three assignments and there are never more than five.

In order to get the grade Pass (3) on the course a student must pass the following:

  • the project
  • one appointed assignment (usually the third)
  • the basic theory part of the written exam

For the higher grades Pass with merit (4) and Pass with distinction (5) a weighted assessment of the results of all parts of the examination is done.

For all students who do not pass the written examination and/or the assignments there are more opportunities to do the examination.

If a student (or a group of students) has actively participated in the majority of the project work but not finished it by the end of the course he/she can get som extra time or an additional assignment to solve within a given time frame. If that is done satisfactory, the student will pass the project part of the course. If a student has not participated in the majority of the project work during the course, he/she cannot be examined on the project part until the next time the course is given. The student does not have the right to continue with the same project the next time (s)he attend the course, and will need to start over with the project work in collaboration with a new student group and with a new topic.

A student who has passed the course and recieved a grade may not be re-examined. A student who has taken two tests for a course or segment of a course, without passing, has the right to have another examiner appointed, unless there exist special reasons (Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 6, section 22). Requests for new examiners are made to the head of the Department of Computing Science.

Examination based on this syllabus is guaranteed for two years after the first registration on the course. This applies even if the course is closed down and this syllabus ceased to be valid.

Students have the right to be tried on prior education or equivalent knowledge and skills acquired in the profession can be credited for the same education at Umeå University. Application for credit is submitted to the Student Services / Degree. For more information on credit transfer available at Umeå University's student web, www.student.umu.se, and the Higher Education Ordinance (Chapter 6). A refusal of crediting can be appealed (Higher Education chapter 12) to the University Appeals Board. This applies to the whole as part of the application for credit transfer is rejected.

Other regulations

This course may not be used towards a degree, in whole or in part, simultaneously with another course of similar content. If in doubt, consult the student counselors at the Department of Computing Science and / or program director of your program.


Valid from: 2020 week 1

Operating systems : principles and practice
Anderson Thomas, Dahlin Michael
Second edition. : [West Lake Hills, TX] : Recursive Books : 2014. : xvi, 669 pages :
ISBN: 9780985673529
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