The Hitchhiker's Guide to Operating Systems

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Yanyan Jiang, Nanjing University


This paper presents a principled approach to operating system teaching that complements the existing practices. Our methodology takes state transition systems as first-class citizens in operating systems teaching and demonstrates how to effectively convey non-trivial research systems to junior OS learners within this framework. This paper also presents the design and implementation of a minimal operating system model with nine system calls covering process-based isolation, thread-based concurrency, and crash consistency, with a model checker and interactive state space explorer for exhaustively examining all possible system behaviors.

USENIX ATC '23 Open Access Sponsored by
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

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This content is available to:

@inproceedings {288725,
author = {Yanyan Jiang},
title = {The Hitchhiker{\textquoteright}s Guide to Operating Systems},
booktitle = {2023 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX ATC 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-35-9},
address = {Boston, MA},
pages = {929--943},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jul

Presentation Video