Computer Science Department Systems





The Computer Science Department Ph.D. qualifying examination in the Systems Area is given to establish that a Ph.D. candidate is adequately grounded in the systems area to proceed with research. To this end, the examination tests the student's knowledge, maturity and problem-solving/reasoning abilities in the systems area. The possible areas of examination are: programming systems, operating systems, database systems, hardware systems, graphics, communication systems and distributed systems. A candidate must take and pass exams in 3 of these areas to pass the systems qualifying exam.

The exam is offered once a year, normally in late April or May. A student must apply at least 4 weeks in advance of the scheduled date for the exam in order to be considered (contact The candidate must specify the three areas in which they wish to be examined at the time they apply to take the exam.

There is normally a faculty representative from each of the systems qual. areas on the committee who is responsible for the preparation and grading of exams in that area. Each area exam is normally a one hour written exam. However, the faculty examiner for the area may elect to administer an oral exam instead.

Basic knowledge in Computer Science and computer systems is assumed of all candidates. This basic knowledge is reflected by the Systems area of the CSD Comprehensive exam as well as the material covered in: CS 108, CS 111, CS 112, CS 140, CS 260, CS 261 and CS 262.

The following sections provide an outline and reference list for each area to indicate the material covered by the exam. Students are also expected to be familiar with major current literature as well as solve problems in their areas of specialization. Candidates can contact the faculty in their area of specializations in advance of the exam for clarification on the nature and emphasis of the exam.

Programming Languages

Knowledge of fundamental concepts which are found in programming languages [8] as covered by CS 242 and its prerequisites, including (with supplementary references):