CISC 324*: Operating Systems, Winter 2017

Instructor, Teaching Assistants, Office Hours

Professor Dorothea Blostein, Goodwin 720, (613) 533-6537,

The teaching assistants answer questions by email, and in person during office hours. If you have a scheduling conflict with office hours then email the TA to set up an alternate meeting time.

Course Content, Marking Scheme, Assignment Due Dates

Here is a description of the course content, marking scheme and assignment due dates. These pages are handed out in hardcopy during the first lecture and are also included at the start of the Course Reader.

Here is a description of the CISC324 Learning Outcomes.

Textbook and Course Reader

The textbook and course reader are for sale at the bookstore:

Optional online resources

Final exam, Tuesday April 25 9:00AM-12:00

Assignments and Labs


Instructions and Files for Labs

Notes about graduate school

These notes may help you to decide whether to consider pursuing an MSc degree. Please be aware that graduate students get paid enough to cover tuition and modest living expenses. Here is information about how to apply for graduate study at Queen's School of Computing, and answers to frequently asked questions. Application procedures for other departments and institutions are similar; you can find details on websites. Queen's Graduate Computing Society provides advice, support and social contacts for graduate students and graduate student applicants in the School of Computing. For example, the events page mentions the GCS Coffee Break, every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30AM in Goodwin 620: this is an opportunity to meet graduate students and professors in an informal setting. The lab representatives list provides websites and email contacts for various School of Computing research labs.

Graduate school provides you with the opportunity to do research, to study a present-day problem in depth. It is common to start with some self-doubt, concerned about whether you will be able to contribute anything, and somewhat intimidated by the established researchers who publish papers in this area. I certainly went through this experience myself when I started graduate studies. I can assure you that you will be able to contribute! As long as you bring enthusiasm and persistence, it happens naturally that after you work on a problem for a year or two you will have insights and ideas that are valuable to others. For example, you can start research by reimplementing a few methods reported in the literature, and testing how well they work on new data. In doing this, you will identify problems and limitations, and you can try out various ideas about how to address these limitations. Voila! you are contributing to research.

You can choose to attend graduate school directly following your undergraduate education, or you can first work in industry for a few years and then go to graduate school. Both scenarios work out really well. Work experience is valuable in giving you additional maturity and insights for carrying out research. If you land an industry job that suits you well then you are all set for a happy and fulfilling career. If you start an industry job and after a few years feel that this job does not give you sufficient freedom to pursue your innovative ideas, then you can apply to graduate school to pursue those ideas.

An important part of the graduate school application process is making contact with potential supervisors: you have to interest a supervisor into committing his/her research funds to support your graduate studies. To be effective, your email to potential supervisors has to be personalized. Professors ignore generic email of the type "Dear Sir, I would like to study at your esteemed institution. Attached is my resume". Instead, take the time to learn a little bit about this particular professor's research, have a look at a few papers published by this professor and his/her students. Then write a short email (a few paragraphs) introducing yourself and expressing your enthusiasm/interest in this research area.

Strong technical writing skills are essential in research. You need to be effective in sending email to potential collaborators or potential supervisors, in writing a thesis, and in submitting papers for publication. If you like, have a look at advice about technical writing that I give to students in my graduate course CISC859 Pattern Recognition.

Oncgoing concurrency research

To find out about the latest concurrency research, skim through journals such as

Francis Atampore, a PhD student in the School of Computing, gave a guest lecture in CISC324 W2016 about concurrency control and research. Here are the slides from his presentation.