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Distributed Operating Systems - 5th YEAR

September 2014

Place and Schedule

Lecture room B-8, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 16:00 till 18:00


To review the field of Distributed Operating Systems as a complement to three previous courses students have already had, namely, Foundations of Computer Technology I in their second year and Computer Architecture and Systems Programming Lab. (in which they were introduced to the basic concepts of traditional operating systems) in their fourth year.

The approach taken is the one of a designer, paying special attention to the management of resources in a distributed environment. Both general concepts of distributed sustems and specific examples are considered.


Alejandro Alonso Muñoz (Office B-319, tel. +34-91-336-7366(x560), aalonso at dit.upm.es)
Angel Alvarez Rodríguez (course coordinator) (Office C-218, tel. +34-91-336-7349, aalvarez at dit.upm.es)

Office hours:
Alejandro Alonso: Tuesdays from 12:00 to 13:00 and by appointment
Angel Alvarez: Tuesdays from 18:00 to 19:00 and by appointment

Syllabus (60 lecture hours)

Operating System Support; File Service Model; Examples of File System Services (NFS, Andrew, and CODA); Time and Coordination; Distributed Consistency, Causal Communication, and Distributed Snapshots; Data and Control Replication; Recovery and Fault Tolerance; Distributed Shared Memory.


The program is based on chapters 6, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 18 and 21 from the book:

G. F. Coulouris, J. Dollimore, T. Kindberg, and G. Blair. Distributed Systems. Concepts and Design. Fifth Edition. Addisson Wesley. May 2011.

and on the paper:

O. Babaoglu, K. Marzullo. "Consistent Global States of Distributed Systems: Fundamental Concepts and Mechanisms". Technical Report UBLCS-93-1. January 1993. Laboratory for Computer Science. University of Bologna. Bologna (Italy).

The class notes used by Angel Alvarez to teach chapters 7 and 12 of the textbook can be seen here and here. The slides used to teach the paper from O. Babaoglu and K. Marzullo can de obtained (in pdf) here and here, and the slides used to teach the Bizantine generals algorithm can be found (in .ppt) here.

The notes used by Alejandro Alonso for chapter 14 and JGroups can be seen here.

Other references of interest for this course are:

A. Silberschatz and P. Galvin. Operating System Concepts. Fifth Edition. Addison Wesley, 1998.
A.S. Tanenbaum. Distributed Operating Systems. Prentice-Hall. 1995.
S. Mullender. Distributed Systems. Segunda edición. Addison Wesley.
M. Ben-Ari. Principles of Concurrent and Distributed Programming. Prentice-Hall International (UK). 1990.
A.S. Tanenbaum. Modern Operating Systems. Prentice-Hall. 1993.


Grading will be based on a final exam including open book as well as closed book questions, both parts with similar weight on the final grade.

Old exams

You can consult previous exams here.

Mailing list

It is important for the students to subscribe to the mailing list.

(Updated by Ángel Álvarez Rodríguez and Alejandro Alonso on September 16, 2014)