Course Description:

This course covers the design and implementation of distributed systems. Students will gain an understanding of the principles and techniques behind the design of modern, reliable, and high-performance distributed systems.

Topics include server design, network programming, naming, concurrency and locking, consistency models and techniques, security, and fault tolerance. Modern techniques and systems employed at some of the largest Internet sites (e.g., Google, Facebook, Amazon) will also be covered.

Through programming assignments, students will gain practical experience designing, implementing, and debugging real distributed systems.

Prerequisites: COS 217 required. COS 316, COS 333, COS 318 and/or programming maturity recommended.


  • Lecture: Mondays and Wednesday, 10:00am - 10:50am. Computer Science Building, Room 104.
  • Precepts:
  • Instructors:
  • Office Hours:
    • Professor office hours are directly following lectures
    • For Preceptor and Lab TA office hours please see Piazza
  • Grading: midterm (25%), final (25%), programming assignments (50%)
  • Questions: Please use the class Piazza site


There are no textbooks for this class. All materials will be covered in lecture, which students are strongly recommended to attend. There are several books that might be useful, however:

  • The Go Programming Language. Alan A. A. Donovan and Brian W. Kernighan. Web page
  • Distributed Systems: Principles and Paradigms. Andrew S. Tanenbaum and Maaten Van Steen. Amazon link
  • Guide to Reliable Distributed Systems. Kenneth P. Birman. Amazon link