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Last updated 16.08.00

COMP9242 Advanced Operating Systems


The practical component of this course consist of a simple initial exercise and one large project. The below milestones indicate when certain parts are to be delivered.

Note: Before starting on any assignment work first study the ASysT Lab page and build and run the hello-world program linked to that page. Do not try to go further until you have done this!

Milestone 0

The initial exercise (``milestone 0'') is a ``warm-up'' designed to get you into the swing of L4. It is due in week 3 and timely demonstration will be worth 4 marks. Further milestones constitute parts of the project. Milestone 0 is best done individually, but I will allow demonstrations individually as well as by groups.


The other milestones constitute the major project SOS: A Simple Operating SystemNEW The project is to be done in groups of two. You will need explicit approval from the LiC for any other group size. Try to get your group organised. Contact me if you have not found a partner by the end of Week 3.

Almost half of the marks obtainable by project work can be obtained for timely and complete demonstration of the intermediate milestones. The remaining marks will be determined by our assessment of your project and documentation. The assessment involves:

  • testing your code and its conformance with specifications,
  • inspecting your code as to how well and efficiently it is written, and
  • perusing your documentation as to its completeness, appropriateness and consistency with your implementation.
The due dates of the various milestones are: Olympics break arrangements: As far as milestone demonstrations and submissions are concerned, the Olympics break is considered non-existent. For example, demonstrating Milestone 5 in Week 9 will cost you one mark.

Notes on bonus marks:

  • No bonus marks will be awarded on a ``sympathy'' basis for a well-intended attempt - your code implementing a bonus feature must completely work (except for maybe some minor details) in order to qualify for a bonus.
  • Bonus marks can also be obtained by finding bugs in L4: The first student who proves an as-yet-unkonwn bug in our L4 implementation will receive two bonus marks. This bonus only applies to L4 kernel bugs, not library bugs. Any student who fixes an L4 kernel bug will also receive two bonus marks.
  • The maximum number of bonus marks that can be accumulated is 10, no matter how they have been earned.
  • Bonus marks (for L4 bugs or for doing a bonus component of the project) can be used to make up for lost project marks, up to the maximum project mark possible (65). If your total project marks, including bonus, exceeds 65, the surplus can be used at half face value for marks lost in the exam.
  • Bonus marks cannot be used if the raw exam mark is less than 40%, a 40% raw exam mark is an absolute prerequisite for passing the course!


If you have problems you should first check: Make sure you check these first before asking us. We'll send you straight back to do your homework if you ask questions which are already answered there!


Some students are tempted to write some tricky or obscure code for these projects. Other students run into problems by trying to do too much.

I can only reiterate that the debugging environment you have on the U4600s is extremely spartanic. You will not do yourself a favour by writing obscure or particularly tricky code. You'll most likely end up getting hoplessly tangled up in your own code. Don't do this.

Write your code as clearly, obviously and straightforward as possible. This is the best safeguard against obscure bugs. I believe that the project is challenging enough as it is, there is no need to make it harder.

Furthermore, when doing the final project marking I will obviously not look with much sympathy upon code I find difficult to understand.

The same applies for implementing features beyond the project specifications. You are welcome to do this, but, in your own interest, you are strongly advised to implement the required features first. First make it work, then go for the extras! The only students who have failed the course to date have ignored this rule — at their peril!

Demonstration of Milestones

Your are to show that your project passes the milestone requirements by demonstrating its operation to either Gernot Heiser or Alan Au in one of their consultation times during the week the milestone is due. In addition, you are to submit your source code using the give system.

COMP9242, School of Computer Science and Engineering, University of New South Wales

This page is maintained by gernot@cse.unsw.edu.au. Last modified: Wednesday, 16-Aug-2000 17:07:31 AEST

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 Last modified: Wednesday, 16-Aug-2000 17:07:31 AEST