Fall 2008

General Information

Catalog description // Who should take 6.828 // Communication // Grading // Turn-in // Collaboration // Class meetings // Staff // TA office hours

MIT catalog description

Prereq.: C, 6.033, and 6.170 (and, by implication, 6.004)
G (H)

6.828 studies fundamental design and implementation ideas in the engineering of operating systems. Lectures are based on a study of UNIX and research papers. Topics include virtual memory, threads, context switches, kernels, interrupts, system calls, interprocess communication, coordination, and the interaction between software and hardware. Individual laboratory assignments involve implementation of a small operating system in C, with some x86 assembly.

Students can use 6.828 to fulfill the engineering concentration requirements for Computer Systems.

Who should take 6.828?

6.828 is primarily intended for seniors and M.Eng students who want to learn about operating systems in detail. PhD students are also welcome, but note that 6.828 is not a "core" subject for the TQE.


We will distribute assignments and announcements on the course web site. We expect students to check the 6.828 home page for both news and assignments at least once a week. If you hear a rumor, check it there.

Grading policy

Grades in 6.828 will be based on the results of two quizzes (one during the term and one in final's week, 30% in total), lab exercises (50%), and home-work assignments and class participation (together 20%).

Turn-in policy

To turn-in the labs, run gmake handin and submit the resulting tarball to the hand-in form. The handin must be received by 11:59pm on the Thursday that the lab is due.

You are required to turn in each lab. Labs that are not turned in will receive an F. Labs that are turned in but score 0 points will receive a D. You have a total of 3 late days to use throughout the semester. There are no partial late days: an assignment that is only six hours late uses an entire late day. After you have used up your late days, each additional day late will incur a full letter grade penalty. Saturday and Sunday both count as days.


You may not collaborate on quizzes. You are welcome to discuss the homework and labs with other students, but you should complete all assignments on your own, and you should carefully acknowledge all contributions of ideas by others, whether from classmates or from sources you have read.

Class meetings

Lectures will be held on Monday and Wednesday from 12:30pm to 2pm in 32-144.


Robert Morris   32-G972   x3-5983   rtm@mit.edu
Nickolai Zeldovich   32-G994   x3-6005   nickolai@mit.edu
Teaching assistants

Alex Pesterev         alekseyp@mit.edu
Irene Zhang         iyzhang@mit.edu
Course secretary

Neena Lyall   32-G970   x3-6019   lyall@csail.mit.edu

Course mailing list: 6.828-staff@pdos.csail.mit.edu
Use this mailing list to contact all the 6.828 staff.

Class list: 6.828-class@pdos.csail.mit.edu

Feel free to send general questions about the labs and homework to the class list, or send them to us at 6.828-staff, and we'll bounce anything that's relevant to the entire class to the list.

TA office hours

Office hours will be held Monday from 6:00-7:00 and Thursday from 2:00-3:00 in the 9th floor lounge of the Gates tower in CSAIL. If you can't make that time, you can email either Alex or Irene to set up another time to meet.

We're not good at using Zephyr and tend not to notice messages until it's way too late. Send email to 6.828-staff@pdos.csail.mit.edu instead.

Questions or comments regarding 6.828? Send e-mail to the TAs at 6.828-staff@pdos.csail.mit.edu.

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