CSE 291 Syllabus


Course number
CSE 291
Course Title
Graduate Networked Systems
Computer Science and Engineering
Lecture meeting time
M/W/F 4:00 to 4:50
Lecture meeting location
Final exam time
6/14/2018, 3:00pm to 5:59pm

Teaching staff

Required and optional texts

Required: Practical TCP/IP Sockets in C, 2nd ed., by Donahoo and Calvert. An online companion site for the book is available at the book’s webpage.

Required (but free): The Datacenter as a Computer: An Introduction to the Design of Warehouse-Scale Machines, 2nd ed., by Barroso, Clidaras, and Hölzle. This is a very interesting book that describes how the data centers at Google are designed, built, and operated. A physical copy of this book is available at the bookstore, however you can also read this book for free online.

Required (but free): A set of research papers listed on the reading list.

Optional: Computer Networks: A Systems Approach, 5th ed., by Larry Peterson and Bruce Davie. This is the textbook used in the other undergrad networking course, CSE 123. It isn’t required for this class, but understanding networking fundamentals will greatly benefit you.

Optional: Distributed Systems: Principles and Paradigms, Andrew S. Tanenbaum and Maaten Van Steen



This course consists of a mixture of hands-on projects, periodic homeworks, and a final exam. The breakdown of credit is as follows:

  • Homework: 20%
  • In-class activities / research paper quizzes: 10%
  • Project 1: 25%
  • Project 2: 25%
  • Final exam: 20%
  • Total: 100%

Grading scale

The assignment of grades in this course will be:

  • 90-100, A (90-92: A-, 93-96: A, 97-100: A+)
  • 80-89, B (80-82: B-, 83-86: B, 87-89: B+)
  • 70-79, C (70-72: C-, 73-76: C, 77-79: C+)
  • 60-69, D
  • 0-59, F

Course policies

Late work

Late homeworks are not accepted. In terms of the two programming projects, a 10% penalty will be assessed if your project is late up to 24 hours, and a 20% penalty will be assessed if your project is between 24 and 48 hours late. Projects will not be accepted past 48 hours late. Research paper quizzes cannot be made up or submitted late.

Regrade requests

Any regrade requets or grading issues must be brought to the instructor’s attention within (1) week of the assignment being handed back for consideration.

Collaboration policy

Students may discuss the homework and projects with other students in the class, the course staff, and the Piazza online forum. Assistance must be limited to discussion of the problem and sketching general approaches to a solution. Each student must separately write out and/or code his or her own solutions to assignments. You must list the names of anyone in the class with whom you discussed your assignment in your assignment submission. Do not share your code with others in the class or let other students look at your code–that is considered academic dishonesty. Do not post portions of your solutions to the homeworks and projects to Piazza when asking questions.

GitHub.com policy

If you use GitHub.com, BitBucket, or any other cloud-hosted source code repository, you must ensure that it is not readable by anyone other than you (and/or your project partner for the projects). To help facilitate this, we will make available a “classroom” version of GitHub that you can optionally use that is free and defaults to private mode.

Uploading any assignments or materials from this course to the web, or to public GitHub repo, during the term will be considered an act of academic dishonesty. If you have any questions about this policy, please ask the instructor.

Submitting materials

All homeworks and projects need to be submitted to GradeScope.com. We will not accept assignments via email or other methods. Research paper quizzes will be administered on paper.

Student expectations

Academic honesty

In this course, you are expected to adhere to the UCSD Policy on Integrity of scholarship. Any evidence of academic dishonesty on any assignment or exam will resort in an F in the class and a report to the university.

Electronic device policy

Studies have shown that using a computer during class can distract you and those around you. In fact, a majority of students tend to support a prohibition on electronic devices in class!

I will let you decide for yourself whether you’d like to use a computer or tablet during class, however to help those students that want to avoid distractions, I’m prohibiting the use of laptops and other electronic devices in the first few rows of the classroom. If you’d like to avoid distractions, please sit in those rows.

We will periodically do in-class exercises that require the use of a laptop, and so for those events, this policy doesn’t apply (e.g., it is fine to use laptops anywhere in the classroom). If you do not have a laptop, you’ll be able to pair up with another student that has one.

Regardless of where you sit, you may not cause a distraction to your neighbors. This means that you may not watch TV/movies/video or play games on your computer/device if you bring one.

Disability Access

The University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for all persons with disabilities. This syllabus is available in alternate formats upon request. Students who need accommodations must be registered with Student Disability Services. Students with special needs who meet criteria for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provisions must provide written documentation of the need for accommodations from the Counseling Center by the end of week three of the class in order for the instructor to plan accordingly. Failure to provide written documentation might prevent your instructor from making the necessary accommodations. Please refer any questions to the Dean of Students.

Title IX Compliance

The University recognizes the inherent dignity of all individuals and promotes respect for all people. If you feel that any part of the class, members of the class, or teaching staff are not upholding this standard, please let the instructor know immediately, or if you wish to remain anonymous, you can reach out to a confidential source at the Counseling and Psychological Services.

Attendance Policy

You are responsible for everything that takes place in class. We will occasionally do some in-class activities which will be graded, and these activities cannot be made-up. I will sometimes make annoncements on the course webpage, so please check that regularly. You do not need to keep up with Piazza–any announcements that you are required to know about will be posted to the course web page. Piazza is an optional resource which you can happily ignore if you’d like.