CS-739: Distributed Systems

University of Wisconsin, Madison
Department of Computer Sciences
Spring 2004

Basic Information

When: W at 6:00pm-9:00pm
Where: 2310 Computer Sciences ( timetable entry )
Who: Professor Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau and TA Thomas Engle
Office Hours: By appointment

What's going on?

4/7: Class tonight!

Old things that used to be going on.

Lecture Notes

Communication (1/28)
Distributed Operating Systems (2/4)
Distributed Services (2/11)
Distributed Storage (2/18)
Distributed Storage (2/18)
Cooperative Caching and GMS (2/25)
Scheduling and Migration


Welcome to the distributed systems class! In this class you will learn about the theory and practice of getting mulitple computers to work together to build scalable and fault-tolerant services. Some of the most interesting systems research is found in this arena, and you will have the privilege of reading it!

The class will require you to read papers and do a final project. You will also be expected to participate in discussion. Finally, for at least one paper, you will be expected to take notes and write them up carefully. Hence, the basic idea is to read, discuss, and learn about distributed systems. Then, once we all have a handle on some of the concepts and systems, you will apply what you have learned and produce a set of terrific final projects. We will get going on the projects relatively early so as to better enable you to do an excellent job.


1/21 First day Class overview
1/28 Communication U-net , Linda , IVY
2/4 General systems Locus , Sprite
2/11 Services TACC , Porcupine , DDS
2/18 Storage Systems xFS , Petal , Frangipani
2/25 Memory Management Cooperative Caching , GMS
3/3 Scheduling LARD , Migration (I) , Migration (II)
3/10 Peer-to-peer Pangaea , Ivy
3/17 Project interlude Work on projects
3/24 Project interlude Work on projects
3/31 Project interlude Work on projects
4/7 Time Time and Clocks , Snapshots
4/14 Replication Consistency , Optimistic
4/21 Project Updates 15 minute status updates
4/28 Failures Fail-stop Processors , Byzantine Generals
5/5 Consensus Paxos , Simplified , Disk


The paper list is available above as a part of the schedule.
Some notes for reading papers:
Read the assigned papers BEFORE class. Without doing so, discussion is a little more difficult.

Form a discussion group. Discussion groups are useful in developing the ability to critically evaluate research, but are not mandatory in this course.

Class Notes

You will be expected to take notes for the class at least once during the semester. These notes should include all the relevant details discussed in class. You will then be expected to write up the notes for all others in the class to read and enjoy. You should use LaTeX for this.


More information soon.


There will be no exams.


Grading will be based upon your project (largely) and your in-class participation (somewhat).

Mailing List

The mailing list is cs739-1list@cs.wisc.edu. I will use it for general postings. A log of email is available at this url.

You can find my email at this page.