Syllabus for CSci5105 (Spring 2018)
Prof. Jon Weissman
Email: jon at cs_umn_edu
Office: 4-225F EE/CS Bldg
Office Hours: 1-2pm T/Th (or by appointment, or when door is open)
Time and Location
2:30-3:45pm T/Th, Keller 3-111
Kartik Ramkrishnan (ramkr004 at umn edu)
Office Hours: M/W 1:30pm-2:30pm, KH 2-209 (or by appointment)
Class webite: http://www-users.cselabs.umn.edu/classes/Spring-2018/csci5105
Description Welcome to CSci
5105! This course is an introduction to distributed systems. We will
explore distributed systems principles associated with communication,
naming, synchronization, mutual exclusion, consensus,
replication/consistency, fault tolerance, distributed file systems,
system design, distributed scheduling, and several case studies
(Grids, P2P, Clouds, Web, Mobile, and Data-Intensive Systems). We will cover both foundational concepts and well as practical deployments.
A strong OS background including 5103 and 4061 (or their equivalents) is required for this couse.
Comfort with Unix is assumed as is programming and debugging in languages such as Java and C/C++.
will be conducted in a lecture format with Q&A discussion
elements. The week's reading is essential to keeping up as is coming
to class. The reading will include textbook and papers. The course notes won't mean much in isolation. Class participation or lack thereof may influence your grade (up or down). UNITE streaming generally will not be available to on-campus students unless special circumstances warrant it.
- Required Readings
Distributed Systems Principles and Paradigms (Tanenbaum and Van Steen, aka TVS), Second Edition, Prentice-Hall, 2007.
Course Work and
- Three written homeworks: 15%
- Three projects: 45%
- Mid-Term Exam: 15%
- Final Exam: 15%
- Participation: 10%
- Homework Assignments There will be three written homework
assignments. These will test your knowledge of Distributed Systems from book readings and class discussions. Homeworks are to be done individually and you will have 1 week for completion.
Your solution be submitted on-line using the
submit utility. The online submission is due by 12pm noon on the
day before class (plenty of time to get sleep and come to class the next morning). Please see the class schedule and important dates for
the timing of homeworks, projects, exams, etc. The feedback (e.g.,
on your assignment may be provided via electronic means.
Grades can be checked online through Grit.
Late submission policy: You may submit only ONE late homework during
the semester. The late penalty is 10% (and it must be received by 12pm noon
There will be
three programming projects that will be done in groups of two. The
purpose of the projects is to give you hands-on experience with
distributed system implementation. You will have 2 weeks to complete
each project. Projects will be submitted electronically. All group
members would receive the same grade. You may submit ONE project late
during the semester with a 10% point reduction (due the next day by
12pm noon). The projects do not qualify for Plan C credit.
Submission protocol: For online submission, you will submit a tar'ed
directory that includes your code, header files (if any), your
build/run script(s), makefiles, and any necessary test data that
was not supplied as part of the assignment. Names of the group members
and the instructions for building and running your code must be in an
additional text file called readme.txt. Each online submission is
timestamped with the time of submission. Multiple submissions result
in only the last timestamp being retained. Therefore, to avoid losing
points, you must make sure you are not uploading your assignment after
the due date.
We will make every attempt to grade submitted work within a 10 days (projects may take a bit longer) after submission. If you have questions
regarding the grading of your homework assignments, projects or exams, you
must come to see either the instructor or the TA within two weeks
after the date the work has been returned to
you. If you cannot see us within two weeks, you need to email us
within two weeks and make an appointment. Unless we hear from you, no
changes will be made after two weeks. If you believe that your
homework, projects or exams have been lost, please notify us as soon
as possible (within two weeks). We are not responsible for missing
homework, projects or exams two weeks after they have been returned. Check GRIT to make sure your graded work is accounted for.
The purpose of the 2 exams is for you to demonstrate that
you understand the key Distributed Systems concepts. Exams are necessary to determine
how you are really doing in the class. Exams also give me global
feedback about the course in general, feedback that I have often used
to make "mid-course" corrections to improve the class as we go along.
If you must miss an exam, send me e-mail ASAP, and you must make every
effort to notify me PRIOR to the exam. The exam dates will be
announced on the website and in class. There will be a mid-term exam
and a final exam. The mid-term exam will cover the material for the
previous 7 weeks. The final will focus on the newer material, but can
include earlier material. The mid-term and final will be in-class unless other stated.
Information about the course will be communicated in class and via
this website. This includes the schedule, dates, additional reference
materials, announcements, and information about assignments. For
direct communication, the TA and instructor have office hours to assist you.
There is also a course bulletin-board (forum) that can be used for
anonymous posting of questions or information, NOT solutions. Please
use the forum for any questions you may have. The TA, or (hopefully)
other students will post answers (as appropriate). If the question is
inappropriate for the forum, e-mail the TA (he will forward e-mail to
me if necessary). Note: I do not read the forum often, but the TA will
keep me appraised of any issues. If you need to speak with me about an
urgent matter, come to office hours or email. Note: we reserve the
right to moderate this forum if it is used inappropriately. The TA is
the best "first line of defense" for questions and lab programming
Unusual circumstances will be considered
including illness, personal problems, A makeup is not guaranteed. Acceptable excuses are
usually limited to serious personal problems or injury, religious
needs, and substantial participation in University sanctioned student
events (note: I
didn't include vacations, job interviews) for late work or missing exams.
The KEY is to inform me ASAP. If you do not make an effort to let me know the issue ASAP, I will take this into account in my decision to grant a a policy exception.
For questions concering the labs or homework, you can
talk to the TA or myself. Limit discussion with your classmates or the
access the forum to get information about the meaning of lab or homework
concepts, NOT elements of a solution. For the second lab,
collaboration within your team is of course expected. In general,
cheating on the labs, homeworks, or exams will be dealt with swiftly
and severely in accordance with
- Disability Statement
Any student with a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning,
psychiatric, vision, hearing, etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable
accommodations must contact the instructor and Disability Services at
the beginning of the semester. All discussions will remain
confidential. For further information contact the University of
Minnesota Disability Services website at http://ds.umn.edu/ or call