COM S 352 Syllabus (Fall 2021)

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Com S 352 Introduction to Operating Systems

Fall 2021


Monday, Wednesday and Friday 12:05pm - 12:55pm Carver 0305


  • Section 1: Thursday 8:00 am - 8:50 am
  • Section 2: Thursday 12:40 pm - 1:30 pm

 Instructor: Matthew Tan Creti

Teaching Assistants


  • Office Hours: TBD


  • Office Hours: TBD


COM S 321 or CPR E 381, COM S 327 or CPR E 288, ENGL 250

(The completed Prereq Waiver Form must be sent to no later than Wednesday August 26, 2020 by 5 pm). Contact the instructor of the section you are registered to if you have questions.


Remzi H. Arpaci-Dusseau and Andrea C. Arpaci-Dusseau. Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces, 2018.

Course Description

This course introduces the internal operation of operating systems. In particular, the course will cover role of operating system, processes and threads, process synchronization, CPU scheduling, deadlocks, memory management, file systems, security and protection, and the basics of networking.


Recitations start in week two. Recitations will be used to clarify lectures, discuss topics relevant to assignments, solve problems, and discuss homework solutions. Attendance to recitations are encouraged but not required.


There will be 10 homework. A homework is posted on every Friday and due on the following Friday except that no homework will be due in the midterm exam weeks and in the dead week. Homework must be typed and submitted on canvas.

Programming Projects

There will be two programming projects using the C programming language. The following policies will be applied to both projects:

  • Source code must include proper documentation to receive full credit.
  • All projects require the use of makefiles, such that the TAs will be able to build your executable programs by simply typing “make” command.
  • Source code must compile and run on the Linux server, which will be used for grading. Programs that do not compile and run on pyrite will receive zero points.
  • Project statements will provide specifications. However, implementation details may not be specified. It will be your responsibility to figure out the implementation approaches.
  • You are responsible for thoroughly testing and debugging your code. Samples given in the project descriptions are for illustration purpose only. The graders may try to break your code by subjecting it to bizarre test cases.


There will be one midterm exam and one final exam. The final exam will be given in the final exam week according to the university’s final exam schedule. The final exam will cover the entire course, but is weighted more heavily toward the material covered after the second midterm exam.


Your letter grade in this course will be based on homework, programming projects, and exams.

  • Homework                       30%
  • Programming projects     20%
  • Midterm exam                 20%
  • Final exam                       30%

Letter grades are assigned relative to overall class performance, with borderline cases influenced by participation in class and recitation.

Late policy

Homework less than one day late is subject to a 10% penalty. Homework more than one day late will not be accepted.

Late programming projects are penalized 10% per day for up to 3 days. Programming projects more than 3 days late will not be accepted.

Grade Appeal Policy

You may appeal a grade within ONE WEEK of grade announcement. Appeals for exam grades will be handled by the instructor. Appeals for homework and programming projects grades will be handled by the TA who graded your work. If you disagree with TA’s decision, you may appeal to the instructor within ONE WEEK of receiving TA’s decision.

Academic Honesty

Homework and programming projects are individual efforts, not group efforts. While discussion of homework and programming projects with other students is encouraged, a level of discussion that produces identical work is prohibited.

For programming projects, you may not

  • write code with another student
  • give code to another student (via email, printouts, etc.)
  • post code in a publicly accessible location

A student found responsible for academic dishonesty will receive zero points for the work in which the dishonesty occurred.  In addition, the student is subject to sanctions according to the university policy on academic dishonesty, which can be found here.

COVID-19 health and safety requirements

Students are responsible for abiding by the university’s COVID-19 health and safety expectations. All students attending this class in-person are required to follow university policy regarding health, safety, and face coverings:

  • wear a cloth face covering in all university classrooms, laboratories, studios, and other in-person instructional settings and learning spaces. Cloth face coverings are additionally required to be worn indoors in all university buildings, and outdoors when other people are or may be present where physical distancing of at least 6 feet from others is not possible. Students with a documented health or medical condition that prevents them from wearing a cloth face covering should consult with Student Accessibility Services in the Dean of Students Office.
  • ensure that the cloth face covering completely covers the nose and mouth and fits snugly against the side of the face.
  • practice physical distancing to the extent possible.
  • assist in maintaining a clean and sanitary environment.
  • not attend class if you are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • not attend class if you have been told to self-isolate or quarantine by a health official.
  • follow the instructor’s guidance with respect to these requirements. Failure to comply constitutes disruptive classroom conduct. Faculty and teaching assistants have the authority to deny a non-compliant student entry into a classroom, laboratory, studio, conference room, office, or other learning space.

These requirements extend outside of scheduled class time, including coursework in laboratories, studios, and other learning spaces, and to field trips. These requirements may be revised by the university at any time during the semester.

In accordance with university policy, instructors may use a face shield while they are teaching as long as they are able to maintain 8 feet of physical distance between themselves and students during the entire instructional period. Some form of face covering must be worn at all times in learning spaces regardless of the amount of physical distancing.

Faculty may refer matters of non-compliance to the Dean of Students Office for disciplinary action, which can include restrictions on access to, or use of, university facilities; removal from university housing; required transition to remote-only instruction; involuntary disenrollment from one or more in-person courses; and other such measures as necessary to promote the health and safety of campus.

It is important for students to recognize their responsibility in promoting the health and safety of the Iowa State University community, through actions both on- and off-campus.

The university’s faculty asks that you personally demonstrate a commitment to our Cyclones Care campaign. Iowa State University’s faculty support the Cyclones Care campaign and ask you personally to demonstrate a commitment to our campaign. Your dedication and contribution to the campaign will also protect your family, classmates, and friends, as well as their friends and families. Our best opportunity for a successful fall semester with in-person learning and extramural activities requires all of us to collaborate and fully participate in the Cyclones Care campaign.

Accessibility Statement

Iowa State University is committed to assuring that all educational activities are free from discrimination and harassment based on disability status. Students requesting accommodations for a documented disability are required to work directly with staff in Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to establish eligibility and learn about related processes before accommodations will be identified. After eligibility is established, SAS staff will create and issue a Notification Letter for each course listing approved reasonable accommodations. This document will be made available to the student and instructor either electronically or in hard-copy every semester. Students and instructors are encouraged to review contents of the Notification Letters as early in the semester as possible to identify a specific, timely plan to deliver/receive the indicated accommodations. Reasonable accommodations are not retroactive in nature and are not intended to be an unfair advantage. Additional information or assistance is available online at, by contacting SAS staff by email at, or by calling 515-294-7220. Student Accessibility Services is a unit in the Dean of Students Office located at 1076 Student Services Building.

Prep Week

This class follows the Iowa State University Prep Week policy as noted in section 10.6.4 of the Faculty Handbook.

Discrimination and Harassment

Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. Veteran. Inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies may be directed to Office of Equal Opportunity, 3410 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa 50011, Tel. 515-294-7612, Hotline 515-294-1222, email

Religious Accommodation

Iowa State University welcomes diversity of religious beliefs and practices, recognizing the contributions differing experiences and viewpoints can bring to the community. There may be times when an academic requirement conflicts with religious observances and practices. If that happens, students may request the reasonable accommodation for religious practices. In all cases, you must put your request in writing. The instructor will review the situation in an effort to provide a reasonable accommodation when possible to do so without fundamentally altering a course. For students, you should first discuss the conflict and your requested accommodation with your professor at the earliest possible time. You or your instructor may also seek assistance from the Dean of Students Office at 515-294-1020 or the Office of Equal Opportunity at 515-294-7612.

Contact Information for Academic Issues

If you are experiencing, or have experienced, a problem with any of the above issues, email