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This is an archived syllabus from 2019-2020

COMP15212 Operating Systems syllabus 2019-2020

COMP15212 Operating Systems

Level 1
Credits: 10
Enrolled students: 241

Course leader: Stephen Pettifer

Additional staff: view all staff

Assessment methods

  • 80% Written exam
  • 20% Practical skills assessment
Sem 2 Lecture Chemistry G.51 Thu 14:00 - 15:00 -
Sem 2 Lecture Chemistry G.51 Tue 16:00 - 17:00 -
Sem 2 A w3+ Lab 1.8 Fri 12:00 - 14:00 X
Sem 2 A w3+ Lab 1.8 Fri 15:00 - 17:00 M+W
Sem 2 A w3+ Lab LF31 Mon 16:00 - 18:00 Z
Sem 2 A w3+ Lab Toot 1 Thu 16:00 - 18:00 Y


An operating system is typically the 'lowest' layer of software in a computer.  It provides an abstracted interface so that applications can run on diverse hardware without modification and it provides security which prevents misbehaving software from crashing the hardware or disturbing other tasks which may be running simultaneously.

This course unit provides an introduction to the major principles of implementation of an operating system and some experience in how these features may be exploited by the 'higher' software layers. Note that this module is currently undergoing major redevelopment and modernisation and, whilst the principles will not change, some of the details both in the syllabus and teaching methods may differ in the autumn.


This course introduces the concept of an operating system -- the layer of software that mediates between the computer’s underlying hardware, and the processes and users of that hardware.

Teaching methods

Lectures, workshops, clinics, coursework, face to face mentoring by TAs. Use of online quizzes.

Study hours

  • Lectures (40 hours)
  • Practical classes & workshops (20 hours)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, a student will be able to:

  • Describe the components of a modern operating system, including scheduling and other resource allocation, security, memory management and paging, and filestore management 2. Explain how the components of a modern operating system work together to mediate between users/applications and the underlying hardware.
  • Describe the requirements and constraints of different styles of OS such as desktop, embedded, mobile and high-performance computing.
  • Design combinations of components that meet the requirements and constraints of a given real word scenario.
  • Construct programs and use tools to demonstrate and profile Operating System behaviour.

Reading list

Operating system concepts Silberschatz, Abraham,9781119455875Wiley[2019]
Modern operating systemsTanenbaum, Andrew S., 1944- author.9781292061955Pearson2015