The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) is designed to measure the scale of baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) in the clustering of matter over a larger volume than the combined efforts of all previous spectroscopic surveys of large-scale structure. BOSS uses 1.5 million luminous galaxies as faint as i = 19.9 over 10,000 deg2 to measure BAO to redshifts z < 0.7. Observations of neutral hydrogen in the Lyα forest in more than 150,000 quasar spectra (g < 22) will constrain BAO over the redshift range 2.15 < z < 3.5. Early results from BOSS include the first detection of the large-scale three-dimensional clustering of the Lyα forest and a strong detection from the Data Release 9 data set of the BAO in the clustering of massive galaxies at an effective redshift z = 0.57. We project that BOSS will yield measurements of the angular diameter distance dA to an accuracy of 1.0% at redshifts z = 0.3 and z = 0.57 and measurements of H(z) to 1.8% and 1.7% at the same redshifts. Forecasts for Lyα forest constraints predict a measurement of an overall dilation factor that scales the highly degenerate DA (z) and H -1(z) parameters to an accuracy of 1.9% at z ~ 2.5 when the survey is complete. Here, we provide an overview of the selection of spectroscopic targets, planning of observations, and analysis of data and data quality of BOSS.