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Approx. 5 weeks

Assumes 6hrs/wk (work at your own pace)

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Course Summary

In this course, we will see all the advances that have led to the state-of-the-art operating system that we know today, covering variety of platforms -- cell phones, multi-core, parallel systems, distributed systems, and cloud computing.

Why Take This Course?

This course is a journey to understanding the role played by the Operating System in providing the rich user experience afforded to modern applications by today’s computers. Along the way, we highlight the symbiotic relationship between hardware and software that makes it possible for the computer and OS to provide a pleasing user experience.

Prerequisites and Requirements

Students are expected to have taken an undergraduate OS course, or have some experience in industry. A good understanding of the concepts in a standard textbook such as "Operating Systems Concepts," Silberschatz and Galvin (or its equivalent) will be assumed in this course.

Students must also be comfortable with UNIX and C programming.

See the Technology Requirements for using Udacity.


Lesson 1: Abstractions

  • The Princple of Abstraction
  • Hardware Resources
  • OS Functionality
  • Managing the CPU and Memory

Lesson 2: OS Structure

  • OS Structure Overview
  • The SPIN Approach
  • The Exokernel Approach
  • The L3 Micro-Kernel Approach

Lesson 3: Virtualization

  • Intro to Virtualization
  • Memory Virtualization
  • CPU and Device Virtualization

Lesson 4: Parallelism

  • Shared Memory Machines
  • Synchronization
  • Communication
  • Lightweight RPC
  • Scheduling
  • A Shared-Memory Multiprocessor OS

Lesson 5: Distributed Systems

  • Definitions
  • Lamport Clocks
  • Latency limits
  • Active networks
  • Systems from Components

Lesson 6: Distributed Object Technology

  • Spring Operating System
  • Java RMI
  • Enterprise Java Beans

Lesson 7: Design and Implementation of Distributed Services

  • Global Memory System
  • Distributed Shared Memory
  • Distributed File System

Lesson 8: System Recovery

  • Lightweight Recoverable Virtual Memory
  • Rio Vista
  • Quicksilver

Lesson 9: Internet Scale Computing

  • Giant Scale Services
  • MapReduce
  • Content Delivery Networks

L10: Real-Time and Multimedia

  • Time sensitive Linux
  • Persistent temporal streams

L11: Security

  • Principles of Information Security Security
  • The Andrew System

Instructors & Partners

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Kishore Ramachandran

Dr. Ramachandran received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1986. Since then, he has been with Georgia Tech, where he is a Professor in the School of Computer Science in the College of Computing. His research interests are in the area of architectural design, programming, and analysis of parallel and distributed systems. He received a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation in 1990, the Georgia Tech Doctoral Thesis Advisor award in 1993, the College of Computing Outstanding Senior Research Faculty award in 1996, the Dean's Award in 2003, the William "Gus'' Baird Teaching Award in 2004, and the Peter A. Freeman Faculty Award, twice (2009 and 2013), for demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit. He is an avid squash player, and can even be arm-twisted into holding a tennis racket every once in a while!

instructor photo

Charles Brubaker

Charles Brubaker earned his PhD in Computer Science from Georgia Tech in 2009. He then taught high school computer science and coached basketball at Pace Academy in Atlanta for 4 years. In 2012, inspired by Udacity, he began recording his lectures on a tablet, creating online quizzes, and automatically grading assignments to give his students instant feedback. The success of this enterprise convinced him that Udacity represented the wave of the future in education, and he joined the company in the summer of 2013.