Advanced Operatings Systems Course Frequently Asked Questions

This page is for students with questions who either want to take or want to avoid taking Computer Science 555. For specific course information on the current semester, please follow the link from the Computer Science Department web page. For information on the course during the Fall semester you may also visit the course web page directly.

How can I obtain D-Clearance to take the course?

All students planning to take Computer Science 555 are required to obtain D clearance prior to enrollment. Additionally, the department offers placement exams several times a year and you must have passed the appropriate placement exams or passed the appropriate pre-requistie courses before you will be granted D clearance. Students passing the placement exams will be admitted to the course according to a priority policy set by the Computer Science Department.

If the class is presently listed as full or you are otherwise unable to obtain D clearance, please ask the department to add you to the waiting list for the class, and show up for class on the first day. Do not ask the instructor to sign your form for admission. I leave it to the department to decide who is admitted to the class based on their priorities, and I will not make decisions on an individual basis of who gets in and who does not.

It is not possible for me to be present on the day of the mid-term or final, can arrangements be made to make up the exam?

No, it is not possible for us to make arrangements for a make up exam. We can not administer the same exam earlier or later than we do to the rest of the class since that would compromise exam security. Further, since it takes significant effort to write a good exam (typically 10 hours to develop each question), and since it is practically impossible to fairly grade two different exams, we are unwilling to make that effort to accommodate the needs of a small number of students.

The dates of the exams are listed in the syllabus and are known before the start of the semester. Additionally, the final exam is held during the last lecture period in the semester or during the first couple of days of finals week - so we're not making you stay around into the semester break. If you can not be present on the date of the mid-term or final exam, you should plan to take a different course this semester, one with different exam dates.

Will you be teaching CSci555 this semester?

I no longer teach the graduate operating systems course (CSci555). Instead, I now teach the Computer Security Systems class (CSci530).

I took Advanced Operating Systems at another school. Can I transfer credit?

To count toward your degree at USC, the Advanced Operating Systems course that you took must be effectively equivalent to the course taught here. This determination will be made on the basis of the textbook, reading list, and assignments from the course you took and through a discussion between the student and one of the instructors for Computer Science 555. You will need to provide copies of the syllabus, reading list and all assignments for the class you took. You should also prepare a statement based on the current syllabus for Computer Science 555 showing which systems and topics from CSci555 were covered in the course you took, and which ones were not.

You will be asked questions about many of the systems covered in CSci555 and if the instructor determines that the courses are sufficiently similar and that you understand the important concepts taught in the course, a memo will be written granting course equivalence. After you have prepared the material described above, you may contact one of the instructors for 555 for an appointment to meet during the office hours for the class.

Please be aware that there is no guarantee that your course will be found equivalent simply because they share the same name. Please also be aware that a determination that the course are equivalent is not the same as having taken the class. In particular, as of September 1999 the Computer Science Systems track Ph.D. requires that a student take four courses out of seven designated systems classes, but only one of these may be as an equivalent course from another university. Similarly, students can count no more than two equivalent courses taken elsewhere toward the Computer Science Ph.D. core (2,2,1) requirement, and in no case can the student take less than one course at USC in each of the three areas. Similar constraints may apply for Masters students.