Marco Serafini


Distributed and Operating Systems (COMPSCI 677)

This course provides an in-depth examination of the principles of distributed systems in general, and distributed operating systems in particular. Covered topics include processes and threads, concurrent programming, distributed interprocess communication, distributed process scheduling, virtualization, distributed file systems, security in distributed systems, distributed middleware and applications such as the web and peer-to-peer systems. Some coverage of operating system principles for multiprocessors will also be included. A brief overview of advanced topics such as cloud computing, green computing, and mobile computing will be provided, time permitting.

Class meetings: Monday/Wednesday 2:30pm-3:45pm, Goessmann Lab room 151

Office hours: Wed 4:30-5:30pm. The TA (Jorge) will receive in CS building room 207. The instructor (Marco) will receive at the same time in his office (CS 348).

TA: Jorge Murillo Bajana (

Graders: Gursimran Kaur (; Nikhil Maryala (; Ajay Venkitaraman (

Piazza (for Q&A):

Prerequisites: Students should be able to easily program in a high-level language such as Java, C++ or Python, have had a course on data structures, be familiar with elements of computer architecture and have had previous exposure to the operating system concepts of processes, virtual memory, and scheduling. A previous course on uniprocessor operating systems (e.g., CMPSCI 377) is helpful but not required.

Credits: 3

Textbooks and reading material:

Course schedule, lecture notes, and handouts

See here

Grading policy

Laptops, tablets, phones and electronic device policy

Cell phones should be switched off or put on slient alert during class lectures. Texting or using phones for other purposes (e.g, email, social media, web browsing) during class is strictly prohibited. Laptops and tablets are NOT permitted during lectures. The use of such devices in class tends to be a distraction and hampers learning. Please respect this policy by not using laptops or tablets during the lecture. Any student with an electronic device that disrupts the class or violates this policy will lose 2 points from their final grade.

Accommodation Statement

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to providing an equal educational opportunity for all students. If you have a documented physical, psychological, or learning disability on file with Disability Services (DS), you may be eligible for reasonable academic accommodations to help you succeed in this course. If you have a documented disability that requires an accommodation, please notify me within the first two weeks of the semester so that we may make appropriate arrangements.

Academic Honesty Statement

Since the integrity of the academic enterprise of any institution of higher education requires honesty in scholarship and research, academic honesty is required of all students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Academic dishonesty is prohibited in all programs of the University. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to: cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and facilitating dishonesty. Appropriate sanctions may be imposed on any student who has committed an act of academic dishonesty. Instructors should take reasonable steps to address academic misconduct. Any person who has reason to believe that a student has committed academic dishonesty should bring such information to the attention of the appropriate course instructor as soon as possible. Instances of academic dishonesty not related to a specific course should be brought to the attention of the appropriate department Head or Chair. Since students are expected to be familiar with this policy and the commonly accepted standards of academic integrity, ignorance of such standards is not normally sufficient evidence of lack of intent (