CS2106 in the news: OS for Cells

Bid to program new life forms with ‘operating system’ for cells.

“For each single application you have in mind, you have to start from scratch, and you have to start all of the design of the biological roots from scratch,” he said. “The analogy in the computer industry would be that each time you write a computer program you have to write the entire operating system.”

That’s why Krasnogor hopes his team will be able to create a line of cells running a generic “cellular operating system” that could be re-programmed with different applications.

CS2106 in the news: John McCarthy (1927 – 2011)

We lost another pioneer in computing in October.  John McCarthy is well know for his work in AI and LISP, but he has a close connection to the development of operating systems — John McCarthy is one of the earliest developer of time-sharing mechanism.


Lester Earnest first encountered McCarthy at MIT while working on the government’s Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) defense system — an early computer network that allowed multiple users to access the system at the same time — and according to Earnest, SAGE inspired McCarthy’s work on time-sharing. “He was first to come up with an idea of how to do time-sharing in a general purpose way, as opposed to special purpose,” Earnest says.

You can read this article by John McCarthy that describes his early involvement in development of time-sharing system.

CS2106 in the news: Is Memory the Secret to a Super-Fast Web?

Since we are covering about memory, the following news article is timely:


John Ousterhout, research professor of computer science at Stanford and head of a new project called RAMCloud, proposes exactly that: Create a data center storage solution “where information is kept entirely in DRAM and large-scale systems are created by aggregating the main memories of thousands of commodity servers.”

Here is a more technical Wired article and the original white paper.

CS2106 in the News: How Linux Mastered Wall Street


Financial exchanges need their servers to execute trades as quickly as possible. Even an edge of a few milliseconds could, over the course of trading billions of dollars a day, provide a competitive edge.

One key attribute was the TCP/IP stack, the configuration of which determines how fast a message can be passed between two systems. Another appealing attribute has been a revamped scheduler, which ensures that a process — one performing a trade for example — isn’t interrupted once it has been started.