Course Syllabus

CS 6960 — Fall 2017


Meeting time: Tues/Thurs 2:00-3:20

Room: WEB L122

Instructor: John Regehr


Phone Number: 801 581 4280                           

Office Hours:            after class

Office Location: 3268 MEB

Preferred communication: Canvas or Slack


Course Materials

  • You will need access to a Linux or OS X machine that can run the xv6 operating system. I suggest using either a CADE Lab Linux machine or else a machine that you already own. If you only have a Windows machine you can either run Linux in a virtual machine or else do your xv6 development remotely on CADE.
  • Unless you are already an accomplished C programmer, you will want a book about the C programming language. Many are available, a good one is C Programming: A Modern Approach, 2nd Edition, by K. N. King.
  • There is a book about xv6 that you should download, and also a source code listing that we’ll use in class. Also see the this web page about xv6.


Course Description

This is a 3 credit hour graduate-level computer science course on advanced operating systems. The prerequisites are CS 5460 or CS 6460 (or equivalent at another institution) and a strong working knowledge of C.

The purpose of this course is to learn about operating system implementation. We will accomplish this by reading and writing operating system code. Since production-grade operating systems like Linux contain a lot of layers, glue code, seldomly-used features, and opaque performance hacks that make it difficult to see what is really going on, we’ll use a vastly simplified – but working – instructional operating system called xv6.


For more motivation see this short essay.


Course Policies


Attendance & Punctuality: This is an advanced class, not a big lecture where you can sit in the back and hide. You have to attend class. More than occasional absences will result in lower grades.


Late work: Not accepted without prior arrangements and solid reasons.



Grading Policy

70% of your course grade will be based on your scores on assignments, 30% will be based on class participation (including attendance).


University Policies

  1. The Americans with Disabilities Act. The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services, and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in this class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the Center for Disability Services, 162 Olpin Union Building, (801) 581-5020. CDS will work with you and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations. All written information in this course can be made available in an alternative format with prior notification to the Center for Disability Services.
  2. Addressing Sexual Misconduct. Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender (which Includes sexual orientation and gender identity/expression) is a civil rights offense subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, color, religion, age, status as a person with a disability, veteran’s status or genetic information.  If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you are encouraged to report it to the Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 135 Park Building, 801-581-8365, or the Office of the Dean of Students, 270 Union Building, 801-581-7066.  For support and confidential consultation, contact the Center for Student Wellness, 426 SSB, 801-581-7776.  To report to the police, contact the Department of Public Safety, 801-585-2677(COPS). 

Course Summary:

Date Details