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This is an archived syllabus from 2013-2014

COMP25111 Operating Systems syllabus 2013-2014

COMP25111 Operating Systems

Level 2
Credits: 10
Enrolled students: 173

Course leader: John Gurd

Additional staff: view all staff


  • Pre-Requisite (Compulsory): COMP16121
  • Pre-Requisite (Compulsory): COMP16212

Assessment methods

  • 70% Written exam
  • 30% Practical skills assessment
Sem 1 Lecture 1.1 Thu 13:00 - 13:00 -
Sem 1 Lecture 1.1 Tue 15:00 - 15:00 -
Sem 1 w1-2 Lecture IT407 Thu 13:00 - 13:00 -
Sem 1 w2 Lecture IT407 Tue 15:00 - 15:00 -
Sem 1 A w3+ Lab LF31 Fri 09:00 - 09:00 F
Sem 1 A w3+ Lab LF31 Fri 11:00 - 11:00 I
Sem 1 A w3+ Lab G23 Mon 13:00 - 13:00 G
Themes to which this unit belongs
  • Computer Architecture


Operating systems provide an interface for computer users that permits them to gain access without needing to understand how the computer works. The software needed to achieve this is complex and this course introduces students to some of the details of design and implementation.


This course unit introduces students to the principles of operating system design and to the prevailing techniques for their implementation. The course unit assumes that students are already familiar with the structure of a user-program after it has been converted into an executable form, and that they have a rudimentary understanding of the performance trade-offs inherent in the choice of algorithms and data structures. Pertinent features of the hardware-software interface are described, and emphasis is placed on the concurrent nature of operating system activities. Two concrete examples of operating systems are used to illustrate how principles and techniques are deployed in practice.



Purpose of the Operating System. OS entities and functions.

Processor Organisation & Operation

Datapath, Control, Instruction Set, Processor Design and Operation

Device Management

Polling / Interrupts.


Process Management Creation / Scheduling / Termination / Communication / Synchronization.

Memory Systems

Basic concepts. Contiguous storage allocation Single- and multi-programming. Segmentation. Paging.

File Systems

Directory organization. File types and file organization.

Case Studies

Windows/NT, Unix.

Teaching methods


22 in total, 2 per week


10 hours in total, 5 2-hour sessions

Feedback methods

Feedback is provided to students in alignment with good pedagogic practice and pedagogic assessment [criterion]; the feedback takes the Kinesthetic approach to learning. Two approaches, #1 and #2, illustrate how to develop the student's skills aligned to the course; such as: theory, process, academic, reading, comprehension, exam skills. The first uses a more reading/writing-preference learner's approach #1. The second, approach #2, uses the visual learning strategy.
The feedback is given: one-to-one and one-to-many. The feedback is given (if time allows) at the start (in the break, & the end) of: lectures, examples classes (if applicable), and laboratories. One-to-one feedback is also given - marked up - in each of the anonymous scripts of the student's exam booklets. One-to-many is also given in a cohort wide exam feedback compiled jointly by all course member whom lecture on the course and mark exams.
Feedback, hints, advice, and extra information also appear on the course's CS web site, courses CS web site, & the universities Blackboard web site. RN also provides real time video multimedia support for all the course's he lectures on; these are composed of video lectures, video tutorials and many associated material designed to help, broaden, and inform the student cohort of possible: approaches, techniques, and learning strategies that will aid and enhance their learning.

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam (2 hours)
  • Lectures (24 hours)
  • Practical classes & workshops (10 hours)

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Group/team working
  • Innovation/creativity
  • Project management
  • Oral communication
  • Problem solving
  • Research
  • Written communication
  • Other

Learning outcomes

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

Learning outcomes are detailed on the COMP25111 course unit syllabus page on the School of Computer Science's website for current students.

Reading list

No reading list found for COMP25111.

Additional notes

Course unit materials

Links to course unit teaching materials can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.