[CSE]  Advanced Operating Systems 
COMP9242 2014/S2 
UNSW
CRICOS Provider
Number: 00098G

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On-Line Survey 2004

Survey ID1097
TitleCOMP9242 04 Final
DescriptionCourse Evaluation Survey for COMP9242 Advanced Operating Systems. Version for Session 2, 2004.
AnonymousYes
Fill Ratio81.8% (18/22)
# Filled18
# Suspended1
# Not Filled3
(required) indicates required field
Your comments will help us to assess and improve our courses, not only for future generations, but for your further study in CS&E. We really look at the results and appreciate your feedback!


Note: Please do not enter "no comment" or something similar into comment boxes. If you don't have anything to say, just leave the box empty.
1. Quick Evaluation
1. Give a high rating if you have a good opinion of something (e.g. interesting, useful, well-structured, etc.). Give a low rating if you have a bad opinion of something (e.g. too slow, confusing, disorganised, etc.) (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Excellent Satisfactory Poor
Gernot Heiser 12 (66.7%) 5 (27.8%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Kevin Elphinstone 12 (66.7%) 5 (27.8%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Sergio Ruocco 2 (11.1%) 6 (33.3%) 9 (50%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%)
Jonathan Shapiro 7 (38.9%) 5 (27.8%) 6 (33.3%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Course web pages 3 (16.7%) 11 (61.1%) 4 (22.2%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Exam 7 (38.9%) 8 (44.4%) 3 (16.7%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Reference material 4 (22.2%) 12 (66.7%) 1 (5.6%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%)
Computing resources 6 (33.3%) 9 (50%) 3 (16.7%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
COMP9242 overall 12 (66.7%) 4 (22.2%) 2 (11.1%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
2. General
2. Which factors most influenced your decision to enrol in this course? (required)
Question type : Multiple answer -- Check Box
Interest in operating systems as an area of study 14 (77.8%) chart
Chance to build a system 15 (83.3%) chart
Chance to get fingers really dirty 13 (72.2%) chart
Would like to do some systems research 11 (61.1%) chart
Looking for a challenge 16 (88.9%) chart
Looking for an easy course 0 (0%) chart
Friends told me it was good 2 (11.1%) chart
3. Other factors not mentioned above?
Question type : Short-answer
Answer at the bottom page (4 comments)
4. Would you recommend this course to another student such as yourself? (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Yes 18 (100%) chart
No 0 (0%) chart
5. The course is heavy on design and implementation issues. It also tries to reamain close to present research issues. What do you think about this? (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Too
much
Just
right
Too
little
Theory/general principles 0 (0%) 2 (11.1%) 13 (72.2%) 3 (16.7%) 0 (0%)
OS design and implementation 0 (0%) 3 (16.7%) 11 (61.1%) 4 (22.2%) 0 (0%)
Current research issues 0 (0%) 3 (16.7%) 14 (77.8%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%)
6. What were the best things about this course?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (15 comments)
7. What were the worst things about this course?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (11 comments)
8. How does the workload in this course compare to workloads in other ... (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Much
Lighter
Similar Much
Heavier
COMP courses at this level 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (5.6%) 10 (55.6%) 7 (38.9%)
COMP courses in general 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 4 (22.2%) 14 (77.8%)
Courses in general 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 5 (27.8%) 13 (72.2%)
9. How does the overall quality/value of this course compare to other ... (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Among
the best
Average Among
the worst
COMP courses at this level 14 (77.8%) 3 (16.7%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
COMP courses in general 16 (88.9%) 1 (5.6%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
courses in general 16 (88.9%) 2 (11.1%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
10. What background knowledge do you think you were missing that would have helped you in this course? Is credit in COMP3231/9201 and a co-requisite of Computer Architecture a suitable preparation?
Question type : Short-answer
Answer at the bottom page (13 comments)
3. Content/Syllabus
11. Please rate the relevance/appropriateness of the lecture topics. (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Very
relevant
Average Inappropriate
L4 general and L4 API 9 (50%) 7 (38.9%) 2 (11.1%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Caching & TLBs 8 (44.4%) 10 (55.6%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Computer Security 5 (27.8%) 8 (44.4%) 5 (27.8%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Microkernels in general 5 (27.8%) 13 (72.2%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Microkernel/L4 implementation 7 (38.9%) 8 (44.4%) 3 (16.7%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Real-time systems 5 (27.8%) 7 (38.9%) 4 (22.2%) 2 (11.1%) 0 (0%)
SMP issues 4 (22.2%) 9 (50%) 5 (27.8%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
User-level device drivers 8 (44.4%) 9 (50%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Recent papers1: file-systems etc 5 (27.8%) 13 (72.2%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Recent papers2: threads, intrustions, TinyOS 6 (33.3%) 9 (50%) 3 (16.7%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
SASOS & Mungi 5 (27.8%) 12 (66.7%) 0 (0%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%)
Local OS research 9 (50%) 9 (50%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
12. Please tell us how interesting you found the lecture topics. (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Very
interesting
Ok Boooooring!
L4 general and L4 API 6 (33.3%) 5 (27.8%) 5 (27.8%) 1 (5.6%) 1 (5.6%)
Caching & TLBs 8 (44.4%) 5 (27.8%) 5 (27.8%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Computer Security 3 (16.7%) 5 (27.8%) 6 (33.3%) 3 (16.7%) 1 (5.6%)
Microkernels in general 5 (27.8%) 9 (50%) 3 (16.7%) 0 (0%) 1 (5.6%)
Microkernel/L4 implementation 7 (38.9%) 6 (33.3%) 5 (27.8%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Real-time systems 5 (27.8%) 1 (5.6%) 4 (22.2%) 5 (27.8%) 3 (16.7%)
SMP issues 5 (27.8%) 4 (22.2%) 6 (33.3%) 3 (16.7%) 0 (0%)
User-level device drivers 9 (50%) 4 (22.2%) 5 (27.8%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Recent papers1: file-systems etc 5 (27.8%) 9 (50%) 3 (16.7%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%)
Recent papers2: threads, intrustions, TinyOS 6 (33.3%) 8 (44.4%) 4 (22.2%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
SASOS & Mungi 7 (38.9%) 7 (38.9%) 3 (16.7%) 0 (0%) 1 (5.6%)
Local OS research 13 (72.2%) 3 (16.7%) 2 (11.1%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
13. Several lectures were dedicated to material presented at recent conferences. Here we'd like your comments on this feature (rather than the specific papers presented) (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Good
more
Ok Bad
less
Was this useful? 8 (44.4%) 6 (33.3%) 3 (16.7%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%)
Was it interesting? 9 (50%) 7 (38.9%) 2 (11.1%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Was it the right amount? 3 (16.7%) 7 (38.9%) 7 (38.9%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%)
Was it the right depth? 4 (22.2%) 8 (44.4%) 6 (33.3%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
14. Which material do you think will be most useful to you in the future? (required)
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (18 comments)
15. Which material, not currently in this course, would you liked to have seen covered?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (8 comments)
16. Which of the current topics would you like to see scaled back or excluded?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (8 comments)
4. Lectures
17. What factors caused you to attend lectures? (required)
Question type : Multiple answer -- Check Box
I had enough spare time 6 (33.3%) chart
The lectures were too good to miss 15 (83.3%) chart
Given the pace and lack of a textbook, I could not afford to miss the lectures 7 (38.9%) chart
It was as good a place as any to take a nap 3 (16.7%) chart
I wanted to be seen to be there 1 (5.6%) chart
None, I skipped most 1 (5.6%) chart
18. What were the reasons for skipping lectures? (required)
Question type : Multiple answer -- Check Box
Overall workload in this and other courses 8 (44.4%) chart
Lecture notes and references cover the material adequately 1 (5.6%) chart
Lectures are boring 1 (5.6%) chart
There was not enough material to justify attending lectures 0 (0%) chart
First half of the course was more interesting than second half 2 (11.1%) chart
None, I attended (almost) all 11 (61.1%) chart
19. Any suggestions for improving lectures?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (7 comments)
5. Project
20. What was the level of difficulty various parts of the project? (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Too easy Just right Too hard
Milestone 0 1 (5.6%) 8 (44.4%) 7 (38.9%) 1 (5.6%) 1 (5.6%)
Milestone 1 0 (0%) 6 (33.3%) 10 (55.6%) 1 (5.6%) 1 (5.6%)
Milestone 2 1 (5.6%) 2 (11.1%) 12 (66.7%) 2 (11.1%) 1 (5.6%)
Milestone 3 0 (0%) 2 (11.1%) 13 (72.2%) 2 (11.1%) 1 (5.6%)
Milestone 4 1 (5.6%) 3 (16.7%) 12 (66.7%) 1 (5.6%) 1 (5.6%)
Milestone 5 0 (0%) 1 (5.6%) 10 (55.6%) 6 (33.3%) 1 (5.6%)
Milestone 6 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 8 (44.4%) 8 (44.4%) 2 (11.1%)
Milestone 7 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%) 10 (55.6%) 6 (33.3%) 1 (5.6%)
Milestone 8 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 10 (55.6%) 6 (33.3%) 2 (11.1%)
System documentation 0 (0%) 2 (11.1%) 13 (72.2%) 2 (11.1%) 1 (5.6%)
Project overall 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 14 (77.8%) 3 (16.7%) 1 (5.6%)
21. How well was the project specified? (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Very clear Ok Confusing
Milestone 0 5 (27.8%) 4 (22.2%) 5 (27.8%) 3 (16.7%) 1 (5.6%)
Milestone 1 5 (27.8%) 6 (33.3%) 5 (27.8%) 1 (5.6%) 1 (5.6%)
Milestone 2 5 (27.8%) 3 (16.7%) 8 (44.4%) 1 (5.6%) 1 (5.6%)
Milestone 3 5 (27.8%) 3 (16.7%) 6 (33.3%) 3 (16.7%) 1 (5.6%)
Milestone 4 4 (22.2%) 4 (22.2%) 6 (33.3%) 3 (16.7%) 1 (5.6%)
Milestone 5 2 (11.1%) 4 (22.2%) 6 (33.3%) 5 (27.8%) 1 (5.6%)
Milestone 6 4 (22.2%) 3 (16.7%) 9 (50%) 1 (5.6%) 1 (5.6%)
Milestone 7 4 (22.2%) 5 (27.8%) 7 (38.9%) 1 (5.6%) 1 (5.6%)
Milestone 8 4 (22.2%) 4 (22.2%) 7 (38.9%) 2 (11.1%) 1 (5.6%)
System documentation 4 (22.2%) 4 (22.2%) 6 (33.3%) 4 (22.2%) 0 (0%)
Project overall 3 (16.7%) 5 (27.8%) 8 (44.4%) 1 (5.6%) 1 (5.6%)
6.
22. What was the quality of... (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Excellent Ok Poor
Documentation/reference material 3 (16.7%) 8 (44.4%) 6 (33.3%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%)
Supplied code 0 (0%) 9 (50%) 8 (44.4%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%)
Help/support 7 (38.9%) 6 (33.3%) 4 (22.2%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%)
Hardware platform 6 (33.3%) 4 (22.2%) 4 (22.2%) 3 (16.7%) 1 (5.6%)
Simulator 3 (16.7%) 5 (27.8%) 9 (50%) 1 (5.6%) 0 (0%)
23. Any suggestions for improving the project?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (11 comments)
7. Anything Else
24. Any other comments/suggestions that might help us to improve the course in the future?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (9 comments)

Back to Summary
3. Other factors not mentioned above?
1: My friend needed a partner
2: need to invest time in hacking
3: needed more comp credit points
4: no
6. What were the best things about this course?
1: * Interesting lectures * Fun to build an OS basicly from scratch, and see how it interfaces with the hardware.
2: - Writing C codes - Playing around with L4 - Take home exam
3: - students told what to expect and how to be prepared - excellent project structure
4: Being able to get really involved in a "real" system
5: Challenging, however it was well structured. One of the best structured courses actually. Overall I quite liked it, it was hard work, but well worth it (No pain no gain :) ). Gave me the confidence to work on a large system. I was not sure before, now I know I can do it. So thanks.
6: Getting really deep into building the system. Learn a lot more by doing it.
7: The assignment
8: The chance to actually do a real project. The quality of the teaching, having lecturers that actually know what there on about is a refreshing change.
9: The project
10: The project... you gotta love spending sleepless hours every day from Week 2 onwards trying to get the OS to run !
11: The room to make design decisions which could either really help or hinder you later is really valuable I feel.
12: everything, great fun overall!
13: the lab work
14: the project and how in the end we (mostly) had a working system
15: very interesting lectures. whatever kev and gernot had to talk about was interesting.
7. What were the worst things about this course?
1: - Sleepless nights... - Debugging badly-behaved code - 3 Hrs lecture, should have spread it evenly throughout the week. Usually lost concentration after the first hour. - Freezing inside the Asystlab
2: - students doing an OS U/G thesis should be forced to do this course prior :)
3: Huge workload.... Some people already have L4 experience from their thesis etc. This doesn't seem fair!
4: My partner was too smart for me :) So, I couldn't contribute as much as I wanted on the project, since he often had done a lot of the work very quick.
5: Not much
6: Some of the documentation for the provided code could be improved there seemed to be a memory leak/bug in lwip Massive workload
7: The exam (I mean the experience, not the appropriateness)
8: dodgy mips boxes. whats wrong with my code!!! (much time later) damn... its the box!
9: the project especially realising that it would be good to have nfs work as a diferent thread. some direction in this area would have been good.
10: too much work too little time
11: you miss days of sleep >.<... the course ruins your social life.
10. What background knowledge do you think you were missing that would have helped you in this course? Is credit in COMP3231/9201 and a co-requisite of Computer Architecture a suitable preparation?
1: CR in COMP3231 probably not enough (at least DN?); Comp. Arch not neccessary IMHO; some concurrency background would help
2: Comp 3231 is a good prerequisite, comp arch is not needed
3: Comp Arch did not cover or did in fact cover incorrectly stuff useful to this course
4: Comp.arch would be helpful (Guess I spoil my anonymity if I answer this question with more details :-))
5: I don\
6: I survived without the co-req of Comp Arch (although probably aware of many of its implications already)
7: It would be better doing Computer Architecture first
8: Okay
9: Yep
10: You don\
11: comp arch was not really necessary
12: feed back for start doing each milestone
13: the coreq wasn\
14. Which material do you think will be most useful to you in the future? (required)
1: - Computer security - User-level device driver - L4 API - SASOS Mungi - SMP issues
2: - OS design issues in general, ie those not directly related to microkernels. Eg. caching, security, recent papers
3: A different approach to real-time systems, other than just some scheduling algorithms static analysis. More applied information about embedded systems
4: Caching & TLBs Computer Security Microkernels in general [Real-time systems] SMP issues Recent papers 2: threads, intrustions, TinyOS I couldn't attend the RT lecture, so I've only read the slides from it. But a lot of it was covered in a course I attended earlier. That's why I wrote it in [] and put Sergio as 'satisfactory' above, because there wasn't any choice of "don't know"...
5: Caching, Microkernel, Drivers
6: Experience with building systems upon L4.
7: I don\'t think you would sign up for this course if you weren\'t at least a little interested in research.
8: I suspect that the material on current research will prove most useful, mainly because it gives an idea of how research in this area is presented/conducted.
9: I think everything is relevant. But I'm not sure if the general tutorial on the L4 API was really necessary (an explanation on why a particular API was designed that way, though, would still relevant of course)
10: Just having some detailed knowledge about operating systems in general, in particular Mirokernels...
11: L4 API
12: Microkernels Caching and TLB
13: Project work and overview of research
14: Systems programming and C experience. I know every gcc error message now! Data structure design.
15: The project. 98 days, 2352 hours, 141120 minutes, 8467200 seconds of non-stop C-coding definitely helps. The L4-kernel as well.
16: i think in the future real time systems would be the most valuable to me
17: the L4 kernel implementaion
18: working with l4, a thorough overall knowledge through lectures.
15. Which material, not currently in this course, would you liked to have seen covered?
1: - issues in embedded OS design - (brief) introduction of institutes that has top OS research - recent OS research direction (worldwide)
2: Fault-tolerance, -prevention and -detection.
3: Maybe some Linux internals
4: Monolithic OS design, sans IPC. There is a class of embedded applications for which an L4-based system is too large.
5: More on real hardware. The project should cover more on device driver issues.
6: Some more SMP and superpage issues.
7: more on drivers?
8: no
16. Which of the current topics would you like to see scaled back or excluded?
1: - L4 API, because we could learn from user manual/reference guide/consults anyway
2: A general tutorial on the L4 API was not really interesting.
3: Computer security.
4: It's all important.
5: Real time is not particularly interesting
6: The file-system lecture was too long, with too many graphs...
7: no
8: real time? booooring.
19. Any suggestions for improving lectures?
1: Don\'t have it in that lecture theatre. It has rather poor ventilation. I attended all the lectures that I could, I had a lot to do this session and both AOS and computer architecture are time consuming. Overall the lectures were quite good.
2: Free food?
3: Get a better room, I swear there was no oxygen in that room
4: The lectures got too long sometimes (3hrs straight is too long). Maybe split into a 2hr and 1 hr per week would be better.
5: The lectures were great.
6: more on practical side. more detail explaination on how they do it
7: nah
23. Any suggestions for improving the project?
1: * Make the milestones easier to split between the partners maybe? * The M0 was a bit confusing because we wasn't informed that the L4_StringItem feature is not implemented in the L4 version we used.
2: - the arbitary NFS packet size limit is an unneccessary obstacle, could have told us. But I guess things are like that in real life anyway, can't expect to be told of all caveats
3: Allow another week for code submission. Warmer lab?
4: Colour console printing in M3? this would make it look prettier, and better to show off to people...
5: Little bit better documentation on the setup of the lab - I didn\'t use sulima much as there wasn\'t many docs on what you could actually do with it (network setup, etc). Likewise being able to sniff the packets from the u4600 boxes, etc.
6: Make sure more of the u4600s work properly, sometimes they didn't seem to be working properly. ie. 2nd serial consoles.
7: Providing some clues about using an ethernet sniffer before the filesystem milestone would be very helpful.
8: The project was great. Perhaps combining milestion 1 and 2 together and add another different milestone ?
9: There really isn't much help provided for the project, but for me personally, that is okay.
10: a \"real\" device driver would have been interesting. something more interesting than clock.
11: more explanation of what is happening
24. Any other comments/suggestions that might help us to improve the course in the future?
1: - turn down the air con in asyst lab - explore the possibility of helping students bridge AOS with potential thesis topic. Help them relate thesis topics with project/lecture material
2: Aos compare to other computer course is like a quantum leap to me, i suggest more feedback on each milestone is needed for future student, as they need to adopted to the difficulty, the most frustrated part of this course is the spec doesn't explain enough what u need to do
3: Go easy on future AdvOs students... give them free coffee in the lectures... they really need it...
4: Great course, glad to have done it
5: I don\'t think comp arch is really necessary, it didn\'t help me at all. In the future, I would like to see the course scaled up from the current 6 units, with perhaps lecture / project work scaled up too accordingly. The guest lectures were nice. Shap\'s talk was interesting. Get rid of the co-requisite on comp arch.
6: Keep up the good work!
7: This is a really great course - I really enjoyed it. It's the hardest course I have ever taken, but also the most rewarding. I think it must be the toughest course offered in CSE.
8: Yuck.. I completed the survey once, but it got lost when I pushed the 'Submit' button :/ But thanks for an interesting course!!
9: linux knowledge was kinda needed for one of the exam papers. some students may have struggled with this is they aren\'t that familar.



2003-2004, phpSurvey

Last modified: 02 Dec 2004.