News & Events


[2016-12-09] George Neville-Neil, FreeBSD Foundation," Teaching, and Understanding, Systems Software with FreeBSD and DTrace "

Poster:Post date:2016-11-09
Title: Teaching, and Understanding, Systems Software with FreeBSD and DTrace

  2016-12-09  2:20pm-3:30pm

Location:  R101, CSIE

Speaker:  George Neville-Neil, FreeBSD Foundation

Hosted by:
Prof. Shih-Hao Hung



We have observed a decline in the teaching of operating systems fundamentals in a period where it is becoming more important, in large part due to a lack of contemporary and re-usable material, and training for people to teach operating systems. Where such courses still exist they work with toys rather than real systems, avoid interesting micro-architectural elements required to achieve performance on contemporary systems, omit coverage of the features developers are most likely to engage with e.g., multi-threading, multi-core hardware, and networking. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, they fail to teach suitable experimental methodology to allow developers to evaluate whether their performance work is effective.

It is our belief that giving students the ability to observe, at run time, the inner workings of a complex system, such as the FreeBSD Operating System, provides them with a clearer understanding of how such systems ought to work in theory, how they actually work in practice, and how to design systems that attain a very high quality in the field.

All of our teaching materials are on line: http://teachbsd.org


George likes to say that he, "Works on networking and operating system code for fun and profit." Writing machine code, building hardware and teaching computing since his teens, his first profit making programming gig was hacking DBase III code for an insurance company while still in High School. He published his first piece of commercial software, an audio digitizer for the then popular Amiga computer, while still in college.

He is the author of two leading books on operating systems, the latest co-authored with Marshall Kirk McKusick and Robert N. M. Watson of The Design and implementation of the FreeBSD Operating System 2nd Ed.

Standing firmly at the intersection of industry and academia and due to his top ranking as software development, George has worked on research projects with the University of Cambridge as well as the University of Twente in the Netherlands. He has spent many years producing commercial software for companies such as Wind River Systems, who, along with NASA, put a bit of his code on Mars with the Pathfinder probe.

For over ten years he has been the columnist better known as Kode Vicious, producing the most widely read column in both of ACM's premier flagship magazines, "Queue" and "Communications of the ACM". More recently he was tapped to chair the ACM Practitioner Board, which is dedicated to bridging the gap between research and industry, where he helped create the ACM Applicative conference.

He is an avid bicyclist and traveler who speaks several languages including Japanese, and Dutch as well as English, and has lived and worked in Amsterdam and Tokyo. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Last modification time:2016-11-09 PM 4:12

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