CS 854 Advanced Topics in Computer Systems: HTTP Streaming Video
Instructor: Tim Brecht
email: firstname.lastname@example.org (include CS854 in the Subject line !!!)
Time: 10:00 - 12:20
Location: DC 2585 (we have moved to this room).
NOTE: we may occasionally have to hold class in DC 3313 so please watch Piazza for announcments.
Office Hour: DC 3508, Day and Time: TBA
- Piazza (Signup) *** Please use your uwaterloo email address if you have one ***
15% Class Participation
25% Paper Summaries / Presentations
50% Class Project Paper (likely 6-8 pages)
10% Paper/project reviews.
Class Participation is an important
component of this class. You are expected
to have read the papers and be prepared to discuss
them in class.
About the Course
Rapidly growing amounts of Internet streaming video traffic are being
delivered to viewers by companies like Apple, Adobe, Akamai, Netflix
and Microsoft using HTTP. HTTP is being used because it is simple, it
works through firewalls, and the existing ubiquitous infrastructure
that consists of web servers, caches, Content Distribution Networks
(CDNs) and clients can be easily leveraged. While this infrastructure
(the HTTP ecosystem) does work, it has been designed, tuned and
optimized to serve primarily small files that exhibit a high degree of
locality, rather than large video files with a long tail of content
that is viewed only a few times. In this course we will examine issues
related to understanding and improving the performance of the HTTP
ecosystem while serving streaming HTTP video.
Course Meetings : Most likely weekly discussion of 2-3 papers but this format may vary.
Most meetings will involve reading and critiquing the
papers assigned as reading for that week.
Some of the content may be dictated by the interests of
the students. The following is a list of possible topics:
- Background and existing techniques
- Web Servers
- Proxy Caches
- Content Distribution Networks
These are not strictly required but many of the papers and
discussion are likely to revolve around computer systems research
so a good background in the following areas are recommended.
- operating systems
- possibly some computer architecture
- systems programming skills
- good communication skills
- some performance analysis and statistics
Course Readings and Course Schedule
Course Project and Paper
Note that students are not generally permitted to submit the same
work for credit in multiple classes. For example, if a student
has reviewed or presented one of the papers in another seminar
class, he or she should avoid reviewing or presenting it again for
The general university policy:
- Academic Integrity: In order to maintain a culture of
academic integrity, members of the University of Waterloo
community are expected to promote honesty, trust, fairness,
respect and responsibility. [Check http://www.uwaterloo.ca/academicintegrity/
for more information.]
- Grievance: A student who believes that a decision
affecting some aspect of his/her university life has been unfair
or unreasonable may have grounds for initiating a grievance.
Read Policy 70, Student Petitions and Grievances, Section 4, http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infosec/Policies/policy70.htm.
When in doubt please be certain to contact the department's
administrative assistant who will provide further
- Discipline: A student is expected to know what
constitutes academic integrity [check http://www.uwaterloo.ca/academicintegrity/]
to avoid committing an academic offence, and to take
responsibility for his/her actions. A student who is unsure
whether an action constitutes an offence, or who needs help in
learning how to avoid offences (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or
about "rules" for group work/collaboration should seek guidance
from the course instructor, academic advisor, or the
undergraduate Associate Dean. For information on categories of
offences and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy
71, Student Discipline, http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infosec/Policies/policy71.htm.
For typical penalties check Guidelines for the Assessment of
- Appeals: A decision made or penalty imposed under
Policy 70 (Student Petitions and Grievances) (other than a
petition) or Policy 71 (Student Discipline) may be appealed if
there is a ground. A student who believes he/she has a ground
for an appeal should refer to Policy 72 (Student Appeals) http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infosec/Policies/policy72.htm.
Note for Students with Disabilities
The Office for Persons with Disabilities (OPD), located in
Needles Hall, Room 1132, collaborates with all academic departments
to arrange appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities
without compromising the academic integrity of the curriculum. If
you require academic accommodations to lessen the impact of your
disability, please register with the OPD at the beginning of each