Spring 2018 - CMPT 431 D100

Distributed Systems (3)

Class Number: 12458

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 1:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    SUR 3240, Surrey

    Fr 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    SUR 3240, Surrey

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 21, 2018
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    SUR 3310, Surrey

  • Instructor:

    Arrvindh Shriraman
    1 778 782-8639
    Office: SUR 4134
  • Prerequisites:

    CMPT 300, 371.



An introduction to distributed systems: systems consisting of multiple physical components connected over a network. Architectures of such systems, ranging from client-server to peer-to-peer. Distributed systems are analyzed via case studies of real network file systems, replicated systems, sensor networks and peer-to-peer systems. Hands-on experience designing and implementing a complex distributed system. Students with credit for CMPT 401 before September 2008 may not take this course for further credit.


This course is about distributed computer systems: systems built of multiple independent components that communicate via network and coordinate their activity to accomplish a common computational task. We will focus on understanding the most difficult issues involved in design of such systems: failure modes, synchronization, coordination and agreement, maintaining data consistency, security, replication, etc. Course readings are based mostly on original research papers. A reading list will be provided on the course web page. There will be two programming assignments and one final project. A group project will take most of the semester and involve implementation of a distributed system. You will need to focus on challenging system design issues during the assignments and the project, so your programming skills must be solid.


- Motivation for and characteristics of distributed systems. Architecture and design goals
- Synchronization and concurrency. Operating system support for concurrent programming
- Failure semantics in distributed systems
- Communication protocols
- Interprocess communication. RPC, RMI.
- Distributed file systems. Case studies: NFS, Google FS
- Applications: large-scale distributed simulations, e.g. real-time online games
- Mobile and ubiquitous computing
- Peer-to-peer systems


  • Your grade will be based on homework and programming project assignments and class participation.



Distributed Systems. Principles and Paradigms. 2nd edition., Tanenbaum, Van Steen, Prentice Hall, 2006
ISBN: 9780132392273

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html