[CSE]  Advanced Operating Systems 
COMP9242 2013/S2 
UNSW
CRICOS Provider
Number: 00098G

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On-Line Survey 2005

Survey ID1175
TitleCOMP9242 05
DescriptionCourse Evaluation Survey for COMP9242 Advanced Operating Systems. Version for Session 2, 2005.
AnonymousYes
Fill Ratio100% (9/9)
# Filled9
# Suspended0
# Not Filled0
(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 (56%) (44%) (0%) (0%) (0%)
Kevin Elphinstone (56%) (44%) (0%) (0%) (0%)
Guest lecturer Matt Chapman (22%) (33%) (33%) (11%) (0%)
Guest lecturer Stefan Petters (0%) (56%) (33%) (11%) (0%)
Course web pages (11%) (11%) (67%) (11%) (0%)
Exam (22%) (22%) (33%) (22%) (0%)
Reference material (11%) (22%) (67%) (0%) (0%)
Computing resources (22%) (44%) (22%) (11%) (0%)
COMP9242 overall (22%) (67%) (11%) (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 (100%) chart
Chance to build a system (78%) chart
Chance to get fingers really dirty (78%) chart
Would like to do some systems research (78%) chart
Looking for a challenge (67%) chart
Looking for an easy course (0%) chart
Friends told me it was good (44%) chart
3. Other factors not mentioned above?
Question type : Short-answer
Answer at the bottom page (1 comments)
4. Would you recommend this course to another student such as yourself?  (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Yes (100%) chart
No (0%) chart
5. The course is heavy on design and implementation issues. It also tries to remain 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%) (56%) (44%) (0%)
OS design and implementation (0%) (33%) (44%) (22%) (0%)
Current research issues (0%) (0%) (89%) (11%) (0%)
6. What were the best things about this course?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (7 comments)
7. What were the worst things about this course?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (7 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%) (56%) (44%)
COMP courses in general (0%) (0%) (0%) (33%) (67%)
Courses in general (0%) (0%) (0%) (33%) (67%)
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 (56%) (11%) (22%) (11%) (0%)
COMP courses in general (44%) (22%) (11%) (22%) (0%)
courses in general (44%) (22%) (11%) (22%) (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 (7 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 N/A
L4 general and L4 API (33%) (33%) (33%) (0%) (0%) (0%)
Caching & TLBs (67%) (33%) (0%) (0%) (0%) (0%)
Computer Security (11%) (33%) (33%) (22%) (0%) (0%)
Microkernels in general (33%) (56%) (11%) (0%) (0%) (0%)
Microkernel/L4 implementation (22%) (33%) (22%) (22%) (0%) (0%)
Real-time systems (22%) (33%) (22%) (11%) (11%) (0%)
SMP issues (22%) (22%) (22%) (11%) (11%) (11%)
VIrtual machines (44%) (22%) (11%) (11%) (11%) (0%)
Events vs threads (33%) (44%) (0%) (0%) (0%) (22%)
File system workloads (22%) (56%) (0%) (0%) (11%) (11%)
Local OS research (67%) (11%) (11%) (11%) (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 (22%) (22%) (33%) (11%) (11%)
Caching & TLBs (33%) (56%) (11%) (0%) (0%)
Computer Security (11%) (33%) (11%) (33%) (11%)
Microkernels in general (33%) (22%) (44%) (0%) (0%)
Microkernel/L4 implementation (22%) (33%) (33%) (11%) (0%)
Real-time systems (0%) (11%) (78%) (11%) (0%)
SMP issues (0%) (44%) (44%) (11%) (0%)
User-level device drivers (11%) (44%) (33%) (11%) (0%)
Recent papers 1: file-systems etc (22%) (56%) (11%) (11%) (0%)
Recent papers 2: threads, intrustions, TinyOS (33%) (33%) (33%) (0%) (0%)
SASOS & Mungi (11%) (67%) (22%) (0%) (0%)
Local OS research (44%) (22%) (22%) (11%) (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? (33%) (56%) (11%) (0%) (0%)
Was it interesting? (33%) (56%) (11%) (0%) (0%)
Was it the right amount? (0%) (33%) (67%) (0%) (0%)
Was it the right depth? (0%) (33%) (67%) (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 (9 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 (4 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 (2 comments)
4. Lectures
17. What factors caused you to attend lectures?  (required)
Question type : Multiple answer -- Check Box
I had enough spare time (67%) chart
The lectures were too good to miss (78%) chart
Given the pace and lack of a textbook, I could not afford to miss the lectures (44%) chart
It was as good a place as any to take a nap (11%) chart
I wanted to be seen to be there (11%) chart
None, I skipped most (0%) chart
18. What were the reasons for skipping lectures?  (required)
Question type : Multiple answer -- Check Box
Overall workload in this and other courses (44%) chart
Lecture notes and references cover the material adequately (11%) chart
Lectures are boring (0%) chart
There was not enough material to justify attending lectures (0%) chart
First half of the course was more interesting than second half (11%) chart
None, I attended (almost) all (67%) 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 (11%) (22%) (44%) (22%) (0%)
Milestone 1 (0%) (0%) (89%) (11%) (0%)
Milestone 2 (0%) (0%) (89%) (11%) (0%)
Milestone 3 (0%) (11%) (89%) (0%) (0%)
Milestone 4 (11%) (11%) (78%) (0%) (0%)
Milestone 5 (0%) (11%) (67%) (22%) (0%)
Milestone 6 (0%) (0%) (33%) (33%) (33%)
Milestone 7 (0%) (11%) (67%) (22%) (0%)
Milestone 8 (0%) (11%) (67%) (11%) (11%)
System documentation (0%) (11%) (78%) (11%) (0%)
Project overall (0%) (0%) (33%) (67%) (0%)
21. How well was the project specified?  (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Very clear Ok Confusing
Milestone 0 (22%) (11%) (33%) (11%) (22%)
Milestone 1 (11%) (22%) (67%) (0%) (0%)
Milestone 2 (11%) (11%) (67%) (0%) (11%)
Milestone 3 (22%) (0%) (78%) (0%) (0%)
Milestone 4 (22%) (0%) (78%) (0%) (0%)
Milestone 5 (22%) (11%) (67%) (0%) (0%)
Milestone 6 (22%) (0%) (67%) (11%) (0%)
Milestone 7 (22%) (0%) (78%) (0%) (0%)
Milestone 8 (22%) (0%) (78%) (0%) (0%)
System documentation (0%) (11%) (78%) (11%) (0%)
Project overall (22%) (0%) (78%) (0%) (0%)
6.
22. What was the quality of...  (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Excellent Ok Poor
Documentation/reference material (11%) (22%) (33%) (22%) (11%)
Supplied code (0%) (0%) (22%) (67%) (11%)
Help/support (22%) (33%) (33%) (11%) (0%)
Hardware platform (0%) (0%) (67%) (22%) (11%)
Simulator (11%) (33%) (56%) (0%) (0%)
23. Any suggestions for improving the project?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (6 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 (4 comments)

3. Other factors not mentioned above?
1: Seemingly the only course where there is any code review at all at CSE (!)
6. What were the best things about this course?
1: -Getting hands-on experience with L4/SOS -Getting a deeper understanding of OS design & implementation -Working with people who are both motivated and interested in OS.
2: Building an operating system; feeling how hard it really is and how long it takes.
3: Chance to implement a real system that actually does something, and to get an insight into real OS work
4: Coverage of recent research and discussion of things that are glossed over in other courses (such as cache associativity)
5: It has been very interesting to learn (more) about OSs and how they are implemented.
6: Running on real hardware, not a toy.
7: Writing code for the project and getting it working
7. What were the worst things about this course?
1: -the stress just before a milestone is due! -it can consume all your time and more! I recommend taking less or easier subjects when doing this subject.
2: Implementation of Yet Another Unix
3: Lectures unrelated to assignment unrelated to exam. OS building was merely COMP3231 but more of it. No warning of impending doom by the time of the page-to-disk milestone. Poor L4 reference guide layout. Hopeless L4 user guide. Bugs in L4. Insufficient variety and depth in lectures. Exam format is too stressful.
4: Partner, workload, attrition of MIPS machines. Lectures had not much to do with project.
5: The partner work and the dodgy hardware/network.
6: Too high a workload. Furthermore, I thought that the exam was very hard because it ran from 5 PM to 5 PM: I hardly got any sleep, and on the 23. November I was too tired to concentrate properly on the exam. (I tried to get some sleep, but couldn\'t because I was too stressed about the exam). I would simply have preferred that the exam ran from e.g. 10 AM to 10 AM instead so that my lack of sleep didn\'t have such a major negative impact on my performance at the exam. It has been the hardest exam I have ever attended!
7: Unreliable & undocumented library code
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: Ability to not sleep for months.
2: Co-req of Comp Arch wasn't necessary (I didn't have it, and didn't feel I needed it.)
3: Comp Arch is not a pre-req! Distinction in 3231 might be problematic as its now group work assignments.
4: Credit in 3231 and a co-req of arch are suitable.
5: I think COMP3231 is fine (best course I've ever done at this uni). You need to update this question regarding Comp Arch.
6: No
7: The cs3231 prereq is a must, comp arch is not particularly important(though nice to have the background).
14. Which material do you think will be most useful to you in the future?  (required)
1: .
2: Caching and VM lectures
3: It was all gold, but probably the microkernel stuff.
4: L4 general and L4 API Microkernels in general
5: No clue.
6: Operating system issues in general, such as Caching, Security, Side-Channel Attacks, SMP-Issues, latest topics, etc.
7: The architecture-related stuff and the analysis of recent research - not the topics as such but the approach to analysing and discussing them.
8: The in-depth coverage of some real issues in OS design, particularly the motivation for and the implementation details of L4.
9: caching, virtual machines
15. Which material, not currently in this course, would you liked to have seen covered?
1: A little more on networking and distributed systems would have been interesting.
2: Linux/*BSD kernel issues.
3: The huge hole in OS research, having results that can be verified and refuted. Research papers are not meant to be unverifiable marketing trash.
4: weird, original stuff like debugging using virtual machines.
16. Which of the current topics would you like to see scaled back or excluded?
1: Blaming Mach for the failure of microkernels.
2: routine topics like SMP, security, realtime.
19. Any suggestions for improving lectures?
1: Don't cover L4 internals in so much depth. Also, present creative material - more original reasearch.
2: Don't make it the day before the assignment marking period, I had to skip a couple of lectures because of last minute pressure to finish the milestone for that week. Had the lectures been earlier in the week it would have been easier to make time to attend.
3: It's important to have breaks in a 3hr lecture to stretch and get caffeine :)
4: Some lecturers should prepare more. Their knowledge of material is good, but knowledge of what will happen next on the slides is not.
5: Some of the lectures were pretty unstructured. All the presented material was interesting, but it\'s more memorable if it\'s presented in a more rigid format.
6: Three hour lectures suck, They suck hard. This isn\'t news to any of you, you struggle and so do students. Break them up.
7: Two ten minute breaks are definitely needed in the lectures.
23. Any suggestions for improving the project?
1: Better documentation introducing students to L4 concepts. In particular, the L4 Reference Manual is useless until students have a good high-level understanding of L4, and the L4 User Manual is too incomplete to give students this understanding. Too many of the hardware boxes were broken. Things were okay at the beginning of the semester, but as the semester went on, they started to fail and never came back up again. Supplied code is very buggy and ugly. A lot of traps waiting to be triggered.
2: Document the library code so. If I knew what it was that it was trying to achieve in advance it would have saved me a tonne of time debugging it.
3: Fix the network, and have more verbose documentation. Make the advanced components worth more and due later. I was really looking forward to implementing some of them, but by the end I ran out of time and it just wan't worth it for 1 or 2 marks.
4: Less routine stuff like implementing syscall interface. How about something tricky like SMP performance? Find the person who wrote the buggy NFS code.
5: Something that starts out closer to the hardware would be more interesting, even if it results in a less-impressive completed system at the end.
6: Verify that the MIPS-boxes are working. The project is enough work without having to determine whether the hardware is broken.
24. Any other comments/suggestions that might help us to improve the course in the future?
1: Increase the size of the message on this survey that says to save before submitting. I nearly lost all the details I had filled in.
2: It's pretty great the way it is, but the project needs to be a bit less painful/more rewarding.
3: Order the lectures so that the support the project better. Threads vs events needed to be 3 or four weeks earlier. Assumed knowledge concerning continuations was problematic for those of us who had to suffer 3231 in S2 last year rather than S1 this year. Kev seemed to assume everyone did it last session, in fact only 3 people did it last session.
4: There needs to be more exam-lecture-assignment coordination.



2003-2004, phpSurvey

Last modified: 07 Dec 2005.