COMP 421/ELEC 421,  COMP 521/ELEC 552:

Operating Systems and Concurrent Programming

Spring 2019

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This course provides a basic understanding of the software that manages a computer's hardware resources to provide a powerful abstract interface on which user programs execute. The course focuses on the control and utilization of processor, memory, storage, and network resources. The concepts in this course include operating system structure, process management and scheduling, interprocess communication, synchronization of concurrent processes, deadlock, main and secondary storage management, virtual memory, file systems, protection and security, and some introduction to networking.

The course content is structured into two parts, a principles part and a projects part. The lectures and projects have been sequenced so that by the time you are working on a project, we have covered the concepts involved in that project in the lectures. Your implementation work in the projects will help make those concepts "real" and anchor these ideas in your understanding.

There are two versions of this course: COMP 421/ELEC 421, intended for undergraduate students, and COMP 521/ELEC 552, intended for graduate student. The lectures for both versions meet together, and the projects and exams for both are the same. However, for students taking the graduate version of the course, COMP 521/ELEC 552, there will also be a written report required as a part of each project.


  • No news yet, but check back here regularly.


Course meetings:

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:30-3:45, Herring Hall (HRG) 100.

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Reading assignments:

  • The textbook for the class is Operating System Concepts, Ninth Edition, by Silberschatz, Galvin, and Gagne, 2012. The book should be available at the Rice campus bookstore and is also available (much less expensively) at places like

    We won't use all of the chapters in the textbook, and those that we do use, we won't always use in order. There will also be a lot of material in the lectures that is not in the book.


Course information: