EECS 582: Advanced Operating Systems (Winter 2015)


Course Administrivia

  EECS 582, Winter 2015, 4 Units, CN: 30340
  Prabal Dutta
Paper Summaries:
  2166 DOW, M/W: 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM (Lecture/Discussion)
  2166 DOW, Fri: 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM (Tutorials/Projects/Makeup)
Office Hours:
  Dutta: 4773 BBB, TBD

Course Description

This course will discuss advanced topics and research issues in computer and operating systems. Topics will be drawn from a variety of operating systems-related areas such as distributed systems and languages, networking, security, and protection, real-time and embedded systems, modeling and analysis, etc.

We will take a broad view of systems research and consider common issues that emerge across operating systems, database systems, networked systems, distributed systems, mobile systems, and embedded systems.

The design of computer systems -- whether building-size or hand-held, file system or database -- faces many common challenges and pitfalls. Fortunately, many of the principles and practices are common as well. This class will focus on identifying and understanding the enduring principles and practices in computer systems design and implementation, and will prepare students to carry our substantial independent systems research projects.

New this term: To ground the enduring principles of computer systems design into contemporary problems of the day, we will focus, as a class, on the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) and study the systems issues at play. Unlike typical offerings of the course, the goal of the group research projects this term will be to explore a set of interlocking problems across the mobile-embedded-cloud computing landscape. Contemporary IoT devices--like Fitbit and Pebble--are supported by a large corpus of systems software running on embedded computers, on smartphones, and in datacenters. We will study how these systems work, their current drawbacks, opportunities to improve them, and new directions to move.

Syllabus (Tentative)

Week Date Readings / Discussion Topics / Tutorials Lead
Classic Systems, Timeless Principles, and Contemporary Problems
1 Jan 7 1. Introduction to EECS 582
2. Swarm at the edge of the Cloud (slides)
3. Research and Writing (slides)
Jan 9 The UNIX Time-Sharing System,
Dennis M. Ritchie and Ken Thompson,
Communications of the ACM, Vol. 17, No. 7, Jul 1974, pp. 365-375. (no review)
2 Jan 12 A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication,
Vinton G. Cerf and Robert E. Kahn,
IEEE Trans on Comm. Vol. 22, No. 5, May 1974, pp. 637-648. (no review)
Jan 14 Enabling the Internet of Things,
Roy Want, Bill N. Schilit, and Scott Jenson
IEEE Computer, Jan 2015. (no review)
Research Directions for the Internet of Things,
John A. Stankovic,
IEEE Internet of Things Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1, Feb 2014, pp. 3-9. (no review)
Request for Proposal: Open Web of Things,
Vint Cerf, et al.,
Published online. (no review)
Jan 16 Bluetooth LE Finds Its Niche,
Roy Want, Bill Schilit, and Dominik Laskowski
IEEE Pervasive Computing, Oct-Dec 2013. (no review)
Bluetooth LE 4.0 and 4.1 (BLE),
Noah Klugman and Josh Adkins,
Lab 11 Lunch Presentation, Apr. 23, 2014. (no review)
3 Jan 19 No Class -- MLK Day  
Jan 21 IP is Dead, Long Live IP for Wireless Sensor Networks,
Jonathan Hui and David Culler,
Sensys'08, 2008. (review due 1/20 @ 1:30pm → 1/27)

The Internet of Things has a Gateway Problem,
T. Zachariah, N. Klugman, B. Campbell, J. Adkins, N. Jackson, and P. Dutta,
HotMobile'15, 2015. (review due 1/20 @ 1:30pm → 1/27)
Jan 23 No Class  
4 Jan 26 A History and Evolution of System R,
Donald D. Chamberlin, et al.,
Communications of the ACM, Vol. 24, No. 10, Oct 1981, pp. 632-646. (no review)
Jan 28 Architecture of a Database System,
J.M. Hellerstein, M. Stonebraker, J. Hamilton,
Foundations and Trends in Databases, Vol. 1, No. 2., 2007. (no review)
The Design of an Acquisitional Query Processor for Sensor Networks,
S. Madden, M. Franklin, J. Hellerstein, and W. Hong,
SIGMOD, 2003. (no review)
Jan 30 BLE Security Overview [ pptx | pdf | 6up ]

Bluetooth: With Low Energy Comes Low Security,
Mike Ryan,
USENIX WOOT, 2013. (background reading; no review)

Bypassing Passkey Authentication in Bluetooth Low Energy,
Tomas Rosa,
Working Paper. (background reading; no review)
5 Feb 2  
Feb 4 Some Hints for Computer System Design,
Butler W. Lampson,
ACM SOSP, Oct. 1983. (review due 2/1 @ 1:30pm)
End-to-End Arguments in System Design,
J.H. Saltzer, D.P. Reed, and D.D. Clark,
ACM ToCS., Vol. 2, No. 4, Nov 1984, pp. 277-288. (skim for key idea)
Feb 6 Experiences from a Decade of TinyOS Development,
Philip Levis,
OSDI'12, 2012. (review due 2/3 @ 1:30pm)
Persistent Storage, Logging, and Recovery
6 Feb 9 An Introduction to Disk Drive Modeling,
Chris Ruemmler and John Wilkes,
IEEE Computer, Vol. 27, No. 3, Mar. 1994, pp. 17-29. (optional)
A Fast File System for UNIX,
M.K. McKusick, W.N. Joy, S.J. Leffler, and R.S. Fabry,
ACM Trans. on Computer Systems, Vol. 2, No. 3, Aug 1984. (no review)
Feb 11 The Design and Implementation of a Log-Structured File System,
Mendel Rosenblum and John K. Ousterhout,
ACM TOCS, Vol. 10, No. 1, Feb 1992. (review due 2/10 @ 1:30pm)
Analysis and Evolution of Journaling File Systems,
V. Prabhakaran, A. Arpaci-Dusseau, R. Arpaci-Dusseau,
USENIX Annual Technical Conference, 2005. (review due 2/10 @ 1:30pm)
Feb 13 No Class Meeting, but read the following websites:
1. Physical-Web (
2. UriBeacon (
3. Blesh (
7 Feb 16 ARIES: A Transaction Recovery Method Supporting Fine-Granularity
Locking and Partial Rollbacks Using Write-Ahead Logging
C. Mohan, D. Haderle, B. Lindsay, H. Pirahesh, P. Schwarz,
ACM TODS, 17(1):94-162. 1992. (review due 2/15 @ 1:30pm)
Feb 18 Lightweight Recoverable Virtual Memory,
M. Satyanarayanan, H.H. Mashburn, P. Kumar, D.C. Steere, J.J. Kistler,
SIGOPS'92. (review due 2/17 @ 1:30pm)

A Case for Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks (RAID),
David A. Patterson, Garth Gibson, and Randy H. Katz,
SIGMOD, 1988. (no review)
Feb 20 Project Overviews
Hardware Platforms
Hack-a-Thon Preparation
Embedded Operating Systems
8 Feb 23 Contiki - A Lightweight and Flexible Operating System...,
Adam Dunkels, Bjorn Gronvall, Thiemo Voigt,
29th Annual IEEE Intl. Conf. on Local Computer Networks, 2004
Microcontrollers Deserve Protection Too,
M.P. Andersen, et al.
Technical Report. Will be available in HotCRP.
QuarkOS: Pushing the Limits of Micro-Powered Sensors,
Pengyu Zhang, Deepak Ganesan, and Boyan Lu,
HotOS XIV, Santa Ana Pueblo, NM, 2013.
Feb 25 A Dynamic Operating System for Sensor Nodes,
C. Han, R. Kumar, R. Shea, E. Kohler, M. Srivastava,
MobiSys'05, pp. 163-176, 2005. (review due 2/24 @ 1:30pm)
Hardware Hack-a-Thon (Machine Setup)
6:00-9:00pm in 4901 BBB
Platforms: ATUM (CC2538) and Squall (nRF51822)
Feb 27 No Class  
* * * WINTER BREAK - NO CLASS - WEEK OF MARCH 2-6, 2015 * * *
Concurrency and Scheduling
9 Mar 9 Lottery Scheduling: Flexible Proportional-Share Resource Management,
Carl A. Waldspurger and William E. Weihl,
Proc. First Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Impl., 1994.
Stride Scheduling,
Carl A. Waldspurger and William E. Wiehl,
Tech. Memo. MIT/LCS/TM-528, MIT LCS, Jun. 1995. (Optional)
Mar 11 The Click Modular Router,
Robert Morris, Eddie Kohler, John Jannoti, M. Frans Kaashoek,
SOSP'99, Dec 1999. (review due 3/10 @ 1:30pm)
TOSThreads: Thread-safe and Non-invasive Preemption in TinyOS,
Kevin Klues et al.
ACM SenSys'09, Nov. 2009. (review due 3/10 @ 1:30pm)
Mar 13 Nano-RK: an Energy-aware Resource-centric RTOS for Sensor Networks,
A. Eswaran, A. Rowe, and R. Rajkumar,
IEEE RTSS'05, 2005. (review due 3/12 @ 1:30pm)
10 Mar 16 Scheduler Activations,
T. E. Anderson, B. N. Bershad, E.D. Lazowska, H.M. Levy,
ACM TOCS, Vol. 10, No. 1, Feb. 1992, Pgs 53-79.
Mar 18 SEDA: An Architecture for Well-Conditioned, Scalable Internet Services,
Matt Welsh, David Culler, and Eric Brewer,
Proc. 18th SOSP, Oct. 2001. (review due 3/17 @ 1:30pm)
Capriccio: Scalable Threads for Internet Services,
Rob von Behren, Jeremy Condit, Feng Zhou, George C. Necula, and Eric Brewer
Proc. 19th ACM SOSP, Oct 2003. (review due 3/17 @ 1:30pm)
Mar 20 No Class: Work on projects/proposal reviews  
Internet-Scale Systems
11 Mar 23 Mock Review Panel for Paper Proposals
Proposal Submission: Thu, 3/19, 1:30pm
Proposal Reviews Due: Sun, 3/22, 1:30pm
Mar 25 The Google File System,
Sanjay Ghemawat, Howard Gobioff, and Shun-Tak Leung,
ACM SOSP'03, 2003 (review due 3/24 @ 1:30pm)
MapReduce: Simplified Data Processing on Large Clusters,
Sanjay Ghemawat, Howard Gobioff, and Shun-Tak Leung,
ACM SOSP'03, 2003 (review due 3/24 @ 1:30pm)
Mar 27 Lessons from Giant-Scale Services,
Eric A. Brewer,
IEEE Internet Computing, Jul.-Aug., 2001.
12 Mar 30 A Comparison of Approaches to Large-Scale Data Analysis,
Andrew Pavlo, et al.,
ACM SIGMOD'09, Jun, 2009.
Apr 1 Spanner: Google's Globally-Distributed Database,
James C. Corbett, et al.,
USENIX OSDI'12, 2012. (review due 3/31 @ 1:30pm)
F1: A Distributed SQL Database That Scales,
Jeff Shute, et al.,
Proc. VLDB, Aug. 2013. (review due 3/31 @ 1:30pm)
Apr 3 No Class: Work on projects/proposal reviews  
13 Apr 6 Storm @ Twitter,
Ankit Toshniwal, et al.
ACM SIGMOD'14, Jun. 2014.
Apr 8 RDDs: A Fault-Tolerant Abstraction for In-Memory Cluster Computing,
Matei Zaharia, et al.,
USENIX NSDI'12, 2012 (review due 4/7 @ 1:30pm)
Shark: SQL and Rich Analytics at Scale,
Reynold S. Xin, et al.,
ACM SIGMOD'13, Jun. 2013, (review due 4/7 @ 1:30pm)
Apr 10 No Class: Work on projects/proposal reviews  
14 Apr 13 No Class: Work on projects/proposal reviews  
Apr 15 No Class: Work on projects/proposal reviews  
Apr 17 I Don't Want to be the Mitt Romney of Databases,
Talk by Andy Pavlo,
10:00am - 11:00am in 3725 BBB
15 Apr 20 Spark SQL: Relational Data Processing in Spark,
M. Armbrust, R. Xin, C. Liang, et al.
ACM SIGMOD'15, May-Jun. 2015. (review due 4/19 @ 1:30pm)
Apr 24 Papers due in HotCRP at 1:30pm Students
16 Apr 30 Mock Program Committee Meeting: 1:30-3:30pm in 2166 DOW
Papers Due: Thu, 4/24, 1:30pm
Reviews Due: Wed, 4/29, 1:30pm
Mock TPC Mtg: Thu, 4/30, 1:30pm


The formal prequisite for this course is EECS 482 (Introduction to Operating Systems, or an equivalent class from another university). Courses in database systems, networking, and distributed systems are also helpful. The informal prerequisite for this course is a strong interest in graduate systems research. You need (or need to acquire) the skill to read deeply, analyze critically, and synthesize effectively. Although there is not much in the way of homeworks and labs, success in systems research often requires a substantial design and implementation effort, so you should have strong technical skills.


Honor Code. The Engineering Honor Code applies to paper summaries and exams.

Paper Reviews. Read the papers carefully and write your own paper summary/review. Your understanding and learning is greatly aided by the critical evaluation of others' work. For each paper, read and discuss it with peers. For papers that require summaries, you must address a number of questions including:

  • What problem does the paper solve and why is it important?
  • What is the hypothesis of the work?
  • What solution does the paper propose and what is the key insight?
  • Does the idea work, and if so, how well?
  • What is a drawback or limitation of the system and how you might improve it?

The paper reviews are to be submitted electronically at least 24 hours prior to the class during which we will discuss the paper. Late reviews will not be counted. You can miss up to three paper reviews during the term without penalty. Failing to turn in six or more reviews on time will result in a zero for all paper reviews. Allocate enough time for your reading and plan your reviews carefully.


Item Weight Description
Research Paper 50% Substantial individual/group research project and paper.
Paper Summaries 25% Written summaries/reviews of 2-3 papers per week.
Participation 15% Preparation and participation in classroom discussions.
Homeworks 10% Individual homeworks and self-study assignments.


  1. How to Read a Paper by S. Keshav.
  2. How to Read a Research Paper by Michael Mitzenmacher.
  3. Writing Reviews for Systems Conferences by Timothy Roscoe.
  4. How to Read an Engineering Research Paper by William Griswold.
  5. How to Read a Research Paper by Spencer Rugaber.