Prereq.: C, 6.033, 6.005, and 6.004
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.
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 on the course web site, and make all announcements through piazza. The course web site has the schedule for the term.
Grades in 6.828 will be based on the results of two quizzes (one during the term and one in finals week) (35%); labs 1 through 5 (40%); home-work assignments (incl. code reviews), paper questions and class/piazza participation (together 10%); and lab challenge problems and final project lab (together 15%). You must submit all labs in order to pass the class. Historically students do well in 6.828 with many students receiving an A (e.g., in 2014 56 out of 88 students received an A).
To turn-in the labs, run make handin in your lab directory. The handin must be received by 11:59pm on the day that the lab is due. You can turn in as many times as you like before the deadline. We will grade your final submissions and email the results to you. Your final grade and late hours (see below) are only based on the latest submission you made to a lab.
You have a total of 72 late hours to use throughout the semester, which you can divide up among the lab assignments however you like; you don't have to ask or tell us. Each day late in excess of 72 hours will incur a full letter grade penalty on the lab exercise component of your overall grade. These late hours are intended for cases where you fall behind due to illness, job interviews, MIT athletic events, deadlines in other classes, etc. For extensions under extenuating circumstances (e.g., you are sick for a week), we require a letter from one of the student deans.
You will also be required to review other students' lab code, a standard practice used to improve code quality. These reviews will be randomly assigned 36 hours after the lab deadline and will be due one week after the lab deadline. As soon as a review is submitted, the author of the code will receive a copy. Reviews should be a few paragraphs that suggest three possible improvements and identify one thing the reviewer learned from the other student's code. Like the homework (see below), we will check-off that you put reasonable effort into them.
The homeworks are intended to make you think about the lecture topic and/or get your hands dirty. Homework submissions are due before the start of lecture (i.e., 1pm) on the specified due dates. We do not grade your answers for correctness, but merely check-off that you put reasonable effort into them.
6.828 relies on the following two books:
In addition, the class relies on tons of reference material on x86 instructions, PC hardware specs, etc. All that material is available on the reference page.
You may not collaborate on quizzes. You are welcome to discuss the homework and labs with other students, but all of your written work and code must be your own and must carefully acknowledge all contributions of ideas by others, whether from classmates or from sources you have read. We encourage interactions on Piazza.
Do not post your lab or homework solutions on publicly accessible web sites (such as GitHub) or file spaces (such as your Athena Public directory).
Lectures will be held on Monday and Wednesday from 1:00pm to 2:30pm in 1-190.
Staff mailing list
firstname.lastname@example.org, but we would prefer that you use Piazza whenever possible.
Questions or comments regarding 6.828? Send e-mail to the TAs at email@example.com.