professor
Abhinav Kamra

Sep 2005

I took OS with Professor Kamra over the summer. The course was 12 weeks instead of 15, so I was expecting it to be a little less rigorous. But I didn't expect the professor to show such little commitment to the class. Around the second or third week, he posed the following question to us: "Does any mind if we don't have class on Thursday, and just have class one day a week?" No one responded, and this was viewed as consent to literally cut the amount of scheduled class time in half. (I'm not sure how ethical this was, but I didn't want to be the one to complain, and most people just seemed to be in there for the credit.) He claimed we'd cover the same material, but I'm doubtful. I was going to put a complaint about this in my official class review, but it appears we were never given any forms. As far as lecturing style, he's pretty straightforward and open to student questions, but it's difficult to discern any passion for the subject matter in his delivery. He doesn't go into much more detail than the slides, and I ended up getting most of what I learned from the book. He told us there'd be four quizzes but the first only came about halfway through the term, the second came a couple weeks before the final, and the final two simply didn't come. These quizzes are very unusual in that they're multiple choice, but there is no indication as to how many of the choices are supposed to be circled. And many of the answer selections seem quite borderline, in my opinion. No quizzes or grades of any sort were revealed until the very day of the final exam, which made it very difficult to gauge how much to study. I was amazed that this class gets you the same credit as the legendary OS class taught by Professor Nieh during the Fall. If you want an easy A in OS, I'd recommend taking this class. But if you want to be challenged, or really learn about the linux kernel, take it with someone else, some time other than the summer.