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Principles of Computer System Design: An Introduction
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  • Title Principles of Computer System Design: An Introduction
  • Author(s) Jerome H. Saltzer, M. Frans Kaashoek
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann (July 7, 2009); eBook (Creative Commons Edition, MIT, 2009)
  • License(s): CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US
  • Paperback 560 pages
  • eBook PDF files
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0123749573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0123749574
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Book Description

This is a unique, ambitious, and important book. It is about computer system design principles, and not the usual mechanics of how things work. These principles are typically embedded in research papers.

This is the first textbook to take a principles-based approach to the computer system design. It identifies, examines, and illustrates fundamental concepts in computer system design that are common across operating systems, networks, database systems, distributed systems, programming languages, software engineering, security, fault tolerance, and architecture.

To support the focus on design, the book identifies and explains abstractions that have proven successful in practice such as, names, remote procedure call, client/service organization, file systems, transactions, replication with repair, read/write coherence, and authenticated and confidential messages. These abstractions allow designers to compose systems with increasingly strong modularity, to protect against failures ranging from accidental programmer errors to malicious adversaries. This book describes how these abstractions are implemented, demonstrates how they are used in different systems, and prepares the reader to apply them in future designs.

About the Authors
  • Jerome H. Saltzer has been a faculty member of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT since 1966. Prof. Saltzer helped to formulate the undergraduate curriculum in Computer Science at MIT, and developed the core subject on computer systems engineering.
  • M. Frans Kaashoek is a professor in MIT's EECS department and a member of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, where he co-leads the parallel and distributed operating systems group ( and is in charge of the subject on computer systems engineering.
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