ECE 570/670 - (Advanced) System Software Design
University of Massachusetts Amherst
The College of Engineering
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
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01/22/2019    First lecture 2:30pm-3:45pm in Hasbrouck 124


This course provides an introduction to software systems with an emphasis on operating system design and implementation.  A key aspect is computer architecture and system software interaction.  Topics include: process management, threading, synchronization, deadlock, scheduling, security, I/O systems, and distributed systems. 


This webpage is the primary source for up-to-date information about the course. Check it often! The course also has a Moodle page, which will be used primarily for posting grades throughout the course. The prerequisites for 570 are ECE 331 (Hardware Organization and Design) and ECE 241 (Advanced Programming I).

The suggested (although not required) course textbook is Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces, linked here The class will consist of two lectures on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30pm - 3:45pm.

Course grades for 570 will be determined based on the following breakdown:

Course grades for 670 will be determined based on the following breakdown:

Please note that all projects and assignments are due by the specified time in the calendar. 

Academic Honesty Policy

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.  There is no place for a dishonest engineer! Please read and be aware of the academic honesty policy. While this isnít something that should arise, it is something we should be aware of as a class, as integrity is a core value of the engineering profession.  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

Disability Accommodations and Inclusive Learning Statement

Your success in this class is important to me. We all learn differently and bring different strengths and needs to the class. The University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to making reasonable, effective and appropriate accommodations to meet the needs of students with disabilities and help create a barrier-free campus. If you have a qualifying disability and require accommodations while participating in this course, please work with Disability Services to have an accommodation letter sent to me in a timely manner. If you have a disability but are not yet affiliated with Disability Services, please register with Disability Services (161 Whitmore Administration building; phone 413-545-0892). Information on services and materials for registering are also available on their website If you are eligible for exam accommodations, your exams will be administered by the exam proctoring center. Contact Disability Services immediately, and comply with their exam scheduling policies, including the requirement that you book your exams at least seven days in advance of the exam date. It is incumbent upon you contact me during the first few weeks of the semester, or shortly following registration with Disability Services, to ensure that your accommodations are being sufficiently met, including extra time and note-taking access, as applicable. Finally, beyond disability accommodations, if there are aspects of the course that prevent you from learning or make you feel excluded, please let me know as soon as possible. Together weíll develop strategies to meet both your needs and the requirements of the course.

Health and Wellbeing

Success in this course and the College of Engineering depends heavily on your personal health and wellbeing. Recognize that stress is an expected part of the college experience, and it often can be compounded by unexpected setbacks or life changes outside the classroom. I strongly encourage you to reframe challenges as an unavoidable pathway to success. Reflect on your role in taking care of yourself throughout the term, before the demands of exams and projects reach their peak. Please feel free to reach out to me about any difficulty you may be having that may impact your performance in your courses or campus life as soon as it occurs and before it becomes too overwhelming. I encourage you to contact support services on campus that stand ready to assist you. Within the College, you may reach out to your academic advisor, the Office of Student Affairs (126 Marston) or the Office of Community Equity and Inclusion (128 Marcus). You can learn about the confidential mental health services available on campus by calling the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH) at 413.545.2337 or visiting their website at There are many other resources on campus for students facing personal, financial or life challenges to find support, stay in school, and graduate. See a comprehensive list at umass.studentlife/single-stop. Help is always available. Please reach out for support finding the resources you need.


The diversity of the participants of this course is a valuable source of ideas, problem solving strategies, and engineering creativity. If you feel that your contribution is not being valued or respected for any reason, please speak with me privately. If you wish to communicate with someone else in the College, speak with Assistant Dean Dr. Paula Rees (, 413.545.6324, 128b Marcus Hall). You may also submit anonymously through the College of Engineering Climate Concerns and Suggestions on-line form ( and/or the Positive and Negative Classroom Experience online form ( We are all members of an academic community with a shared responsibility to cultivate a climate where all students/individuals are valued and where both they and their ideas are treated with respect.

Pronouns and Names

Everyone has the right to be addressed by the name and pronouns that they use for themselves. Students can indicate their preferred/chosen first name and pronouns on SPIRE, which appear on class rosters. Please let me know what name and pronouns I should use for you if they are not on the roster. A studentís chosen name and pronouns are to be respected at all times in the classroom. To learn more, read the Intro Handout on Pronouns:    

Title IX

Any conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individualís performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or sexually offensive educational, academic, residential, or working environment is considered sexual harassment. Faculty have the responsibility to inform students of the resources and reporting options relevant to reporting an incident of sexual assault, sexual harassment, relationship violence or stalking for all genders. You may go to the Title IX webpage at and the Sexual & Relationship Violence Resource Guide at ( to find more information about resources and reporting options. Please reach out to me if you would like assistance connecting with any of these resources/options. You may also contact William Brady, the Interim Title IX Coordinator by email at or by phone at (413) 545-6204 if they have any questions or want to make a report, file a complaint, find out about resources and/or academic support.

More Information

More information on resources addressing the items above can be found here.