CSC 2405 (Computing Systems II) Syllabus



Mirela Damian, MSC 167A
Phone: (610)519-7414

Office Hours

T  10:00 am – 11:00 am

Th  10:00 am – 11:00 am

Course Meets

TTh 8:30 am 9:45 am  in  Mendel G86


CSC 2400 – Computer Systems I


Course Description


This course is the second part of a two-semester sequence – Computer Systems I and II.  The goal of this course is to bridge the gap between high-level programming and actual computer components, such as processors, caches, operating systems, compilers, linkers, and so on. This course will teach the way computer systems work from the low level device interrupts up to processes, threads, memory management, file systems and security.


One main aspect of this course will be programming projects, which will enable hands-on learning while gaining valuable and practical experience in Systems specifically and Computer Science generally. We will invest significant time in class exploring hands-on learning, so come to class prepared to write code.


Student Learning Outcomes


1.     Understand the objectives and functions of modern operating system.                                             

2.     Describe and use techniques for achieving concurrency and synchronization.                                   

3.     Explain the workings of a system with virtual memory management.                                  

4.     Understand security risks and protection mechanisms for computer systems.                                                                                            



No textbook is required for this course – we will be using online resources and class notes. This saves you money, but places a demand on your attendance, attention, and note taking. All course-related materials will be posted on the class website


Please make sure you check the class page regularly.

Course Requirements

1.     Assignments & Quizzes: Assignments will involve both pencil and paper problem solving, and C programming in Unix. Some of the assignments will be done individually, while others will be done in groups. The group assignments will not be collected. Instead, at the beginning of class on the day the assignment is due, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the material by individually answering quiz questions similar to those in the assignment.


2.     Tests: one midterm, one final exam. Tests will be closed books, closed notes. However, you are allowed to bring one sheet of paper, letter size, with any information (on both sides) you think will help you during the exam. Notes may not be shared during the exam.


3.     Class Attendance. Regular attendance is expected of all students. Each student is responsible for all material, announcements, and assignments covered during any class missed.


4.     Late Policy. All assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the due date. No credit will be given to late assignments. Exceptions to this policy will be granted only in extraordinary circumstances.


Tentative Grading Procedure


The following allocation of points is tentative and may change during the semester:


                                    Assignments & Quizzes:           45%

                                    Tests:                                        45%

                                    In-class participation:                10%

Academic Integrity


I encourage you to collaborate on assignments and learn from your fellow students. However, there is a fine line between collaboration and cheating. Collaboration means discussing problems and solution approaches with other students and independently writing your own answers; cheating means copying solutions from someone else or giving someone else your solutions. If you have questions about what is acceptable, please bring them to me before submitting your work.


Cheating, plagiarism and helping others commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty. The penalty for any act of dishonesty is an F grade for the course. Please consult the Code on Academic Integrity at


Special Arrangements


If anyone has a disability or other problems that warrant the need for special accommodation to complete the course work, please contact me at your earliest convenience.

Tentative Course Schedule


The course schedule below is approximate and subject to change as the semester progresses. Please check the online version on the course schedule regularly.




Wk 1: Jan. 14, 16

Computer Systems Overview. Smart Shell Hands-On.

Wk 2: Jan. 21, 23

Wk 3: Jan. 28, 30

Processes (Creation, Execution, Management)

Wk 4: Feb. 4, 6

Wk 5: Feb. 11, 13


Process Communication (Pipes, Signals, Sockets)

Wk 6: Feb. 18, 20

Wk 7: Feb. 25, 27

Mar. 3 – 9

Spring Break – ENJOY !

*Wk 8:  Mar. 11, 13

System vs. Standard Input and Output

Wk 9: Mar. 18, 20

*Wk 10: Mar. 25, 27

Thread Management and Synchronization.                               Midterm

Wk 11: Apr. 1, 3

Wk 12: Apr. 8, 10

Memory Management

Apr. 15

Apr. 17 – 20

Easter Recess – ENJOY !

Wk 13: Apr. 22, 24

Security Issues in Computing Systems

Wk 14: May 1

Final exam Saturday, May 3, 8:00 am – 10:30 am