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, location TBD

Teaching staff

  • Professor: George Porter

  • TA: Yibo Guo

    • Email: yig004@ucsd.edu
    • Office hours: 1-3pm, B250A
  • TA: Bhargav Sridharan

    • Email: bheeragu@ucsd.edu
    • Office hours: 8am-10am, B270A

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: 23%
  • In-class activities / research paper quizzes: 5%
  • Project 1: 25%
  • Project 2: 27%
  • 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

For homeworks and projects, a 25% penalty will be assessed to assignments turned in up to 24 hours late, and a 50% penalty will be assigned to assignments turned in between 24 and 48 hours late. No homeworks or projects will be accepted after 48 hours past the due date/time. In-class exercises cannot be made up or turned in after class ends. The only exception is if you get permission to miss class before the class begins.

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. Any regrades will consider the entire assignment, and so your score may go up, stay the same, or go down.

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 (of course you can share code with your project partner for assignments that allow project groups of 2 students). 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

Students requesting accommodations for this course due to a disability or current functional limitation must provide a current Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) letter issued by the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) which is located in University Center 202 behind Center Hall. Students are required to present their AFA letters to Faculty (please make arrangements to contact me privately) and to the CSE OSD Liaison in the department in advance so that accommodations may be arranged.

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 directly to the Office for the prevention of harassment and discrimination.

Diversity and Inclusion

We are committed to fostering a learning environment for this course that supports a diversity of thoughts, perspectives and experiences, and respects your identities (including race, ethnicity, heritage, gender, sex, class, sexuality, religion, ability, age, educational background, etc.). Our goal is to create a diverse and inclusive learning environment where all students feel comfortable and can thrive.

Our instructional staff will make a concerted effort to be welcoming and inclusive to the wide diversity of students in this course. If there is a way we can make you feel more included please let one of the course staff know, either in person, via email/discussion board, or even in a note under the door. Our learning about diverse perspectives and identities is an ongoing process, and we welcome your perspectives and input.

We also expect that you, as a student in this course, will honor and respect your classmates, abiding by the UCSD Principles of Community (https://ucsd.edu/about/principles.html). Please understand that others’ backgrounds, perspectives and experiences may be different than your own, and help us to build an environment where everyone is respected and feels comfortable. If you experience any sort of harassment or discrimination, please contact the instructor as soon as possible. If you prefer to speak with someone outside of the course, please contact the Office of Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination: https://ophd.ucsd.edu/.

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.