Course Work

We will construct networking software components and distributed applications using popular programming tools available in the UNIX environment (such as C++, Java, make, emacs, dbx, gprof, sockets, and CORBA). You are expected to be familiar with an object-oriented programming language. Implementation will be done using C++ and Java.

cs544 is not an introductory course in OO design, C++, networking, or operating systems. It's a course intended to expose you to the state-of-the-art in design and programming techniques for building real-world distributed systems. Please do not try to take this class for credit unless you feel comfortable with this philosophy and unless you can spend sufficient time to master the concepts and tools..

Programming Projects

There will be a number of programming projects that will build upon one another to illustrate the value of good design and implementation techniques on the software lifecycle. Online descriptions of these assignments will be available via the WWW.

An important goal of the assignments is to teach you about design alternatives involved in building communication software. To solidify your exposure to these issues, we'll compare and contrast various examples of designs based on different communication paradigms (such as sockets, Java RMI, ACE, and CORBA).

Projects will involve substantial network programming in C++, Java, UNIX, ACE, and CORBA. Initially, assignments will be done individually by each student. Subsequent projects will be done in small teams of 2 or 3 students. Students are assumed to be competent in C++ and familiar with basic UNIX operating system features such as electronic mail, WWW browsers, and USENET newsgroups. Students not familiar with these tools will have to learn them outside of class.

To encourage you to write well-designed software, I reserve the right to change the assignment specifications at any point before the due date. Expect this to happen several times during the semester. If you have written your program in a modular fashion the changes will be trivial to implement.

The programs will be graded using the following criteria:

There will be a mandatory 5 point deduction (out of a possible 100 points) for each day that your program is late after the deadline. Moreover, I will not accept programs that are turned in later than two calendar days after the due date.


There will be one mid-term (around the 8th week of class) and a final exam (held on the last day of class), both of which will be held in class. Material tested on the final exam will be comprehensive. The relative weighting of each portion of the course is presented below: Note that I reserve the right to change the weights during the course of the semester.

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