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University of Waterloo

Term and Year of Offering: Winter 2010

Course Number and Title: CS 856, Advanced Topics in Distributed Computing: Latency in Communication Systems

Comp Sec Camp Loc Time Days/Date Bldg Room Instructor
SEM 001UW U01:00-03:50WMC 2036Martin Karsten

Instructor's Name Office Location Contact Office Hours
Martin Karsten DC 3506 mkarstenuwaterloo.ca by email

NOTE: If you have missed the organizational meeting and would like to take the course for credit, please send an email to the instructor.

Course Description

Communication latency is a defining performance metric for computer and communication systems. However, its significance is often overshadowed by throughput considerations. In this course, we will study the diverse challenges that communication latency poses to various systems- and application-level computing and communication machinery. We will investigate and attempt to categorize/generalize solution approaches.

Course Overview

Tentative Timeline

Jan 6Organizational Meeting
Jan 13Lecture & Discussion (applications & challenges)
Jan 20Lecture & Discussion (typical solution approaches)
Jan 27Guest Lecture: David Pariag, Sandvine
Feb 3Guest Lecture: Stephen Gibbs, TD Securities
Feb 10Guest Lecture: Sean Simmons, RIM
Feb 17Reading Week (no class)
Feb 24Guest Lecture: Sowmini Varadhan, Sun/Oracle
Mar 3Project Reviews
Mar 10Paper Discussion
Mar 17Paper Discussion
Mar 24Project Presentations
Mar 31Project Presentations


The primary means for announcements are this web page and the course newsgroup uw.cs.cs856 (see this page for further information).

Please direct all questions to the course newsgroup. If there is a good reason not to use the newsgroup (e.g., personal matters, a question that might reveal part of a solution, etc.) contact the instructor directly via email. Please use email only as a last resort. The instructor may decide that the response to an email question is more appropriate for the newsgroup and repost the question there.


From the School's web page:

Graduate courses assume a background of at least third-year Honours Computer Science at the University of Waterloo and a similar level of mathematical maturity. Students lacking this background will be asked to acquire this material in addition to the other requirements of the program.

Students considering the course should have taken and enjoyed a computer networks course, such as CS 456/656.

Evaluation (tentative)

IMPORTANT: Class attendance is required throughout the term!

Class Participation10
Paper Reviews10
Paper Presentation10
Summary Paper20
Course Project50

For an audit credit, you need to satisfy passing requirements for 'Class Participation' and 'Paper Reviews'.

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 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, www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infosec/Policies/policy70.htm. When in doubt please be certain to contact the School's administrative assistant who will provide further assistance.

Discipline: A student is expected to know what constitutes academic integrity [check 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, www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infosec/Policies/policy71.htm. For typical penalties check Guidelines for the Assessment of Penalties, www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infosec/guidelines/penaltyguidelines.htm.

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) 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 academic term.