CSE 535 (Fall 2015)
Asynchronous Systems

[ General Information | Schedule | Handouts | Resources | Requirements ]

General Information

Course description: This course is for students interested in concurrent and distributed systems, their description using high-level programming languages, and reasoning about their correctness and efficiency. Topics include communication paradigms and fundamentals, especially shared memory and message passing models; descriptions of well-known algorithms, which underlie today's most important distributed storage and concurrent processing applications; as well as methods for verification and optimization.

Course work: In-class exercises, reading and homework assignments, a midterm and a final exam, and a project where students may implement and experiment with well-known algorithms, demonstrate their correctness and performance properties, study optimizations for them, exploit them in interesting applications, or take on other tasks that exploit or extend the topics studied.

Prerequisites: A programming language or compiler course, an algorithm course, a database course, an operating systems course, and skills for programming in a high-level language such as Python or Java; or permission of the instructor. | Credits: 3.

Instructor: Annie Liu | Email: liu@cs.stonybrook.edu | Office: Computer Science 237 | Phone: 631-632-8463. | Office hours: Mon 9:40-10AM, 2:20-3:20PM; Thu 9:40-10:30AM; Fri 12:30-1:00PM, email for an appointment, or stop by any time I'm around.

TA: Prashant Pandey | Email: prashant.pandey@stonybrook.edu | Office hours: Wed 1:40-3PM, CS 236.

Lectures: Mon Fri 1-2:20PM, in old CS 2120.

Textbook: There is no required textbook for this course; relevant materials and references will be given as the course proceeds. Taking good notes will help you learn the course materials most efficiently.

Grading: Lecture critiques, in-class exercises, reading and homework assignments, midterm, final exam, and project, each worth 5%, 10%, 30%, 15%, 20%, and 20%, respectively, of the grade. Reduced credit for late assignment submissions, 20% per day.

Course homepage: http://www.cs.stonybrook.edu/~liu/cse535


Week 1: Overview. Assignment 1

Part I: Foundation

Week 2: Distributed mutual exclusion. Assignment 2

Week 3: Languages and clarity.

Week 4: Correctness verification. Assignment 3

Week 5: Efficient implementation.

Midterm exam (10/2) In-class exam.

Part II: Important algorithms

Week 6: Distributed consensus. Assignment 4

Week 7: More distributed consensus.

Week 8: Cache coherence. Assignment 5

Week 9: Distributed hash tables.

Week 10: Security protocols.

Part III: In the large

Week 11: Project plan, more security protocols. Project

Week 12: More distributed services and algorithms.

Week 13: Individual team meetings.

Week 14: Project presentations. Project report due (12/4)

Final exam (12/16) 2:15-5:00 pm



Lecture Critiques

In-Class Exercises

Assignment 1: Basics and applications

Assignment 2: Distributed mutex programs: test correctness and performance

Assignment 3: Distributed mutex specifications: check and prove properties

Assignment 4: Distributed consensus: optimize Paxos and compare variants

Assignment 5: Cache coherence, etc.: compare programs and specifications

Midterm exam

Final exam


Other Resources

Interactive Site of This Course, for students in the class

Computer Science Department Computing Labs


Learn all information on the course homepage. Check the homepage periodically for announcements and other dynamic contents.

Attend all lectures and take good notes. This is the most efficient way to learn the course materials, because we will both distill and elaborate paper materials and discuss other important materials. We will start promptly on time, with quick reviews every time, followed by exercises or quizzes. We will have every student participate in solving problems and presenting solutions in class.

Do all course work. The readings are to help you preview and review the materials discussed in the lectures. The assignments and project are to provide concrete experiences with the basic concepts and methods covered in the lectures. The exercises and quizzes are to help check that you are keeping up with the lectures and the assignments. The exams will be comprehensive.

Your handins, whether in electronic form or on paper, should include the following information at the top: your name, student id, course number, assignment number, and due date, and should be submitted in a neat and organized fashion.

Your programming assignments should always be submitted with a README.txt file explaining where things are, what you did and found for the assignment (that is not described in the assignment handout), and how to run and test your code. This file is worth a non-trivial portion of the grade.

Your approach to solving problems is as important as your final solutions; you need to show how you arrived at your solutions and include appropriate explanations. Always include good explanations in your README file and good comments in your code.

If you feel your grade was assigned incorrectly, please bring it up no later than two weeks after the grade was posted.

Ask questions and get help. Ask questions in class, in office hours, and in the Q&A forum. Talk with your classmates, and share ideas (but nothing written or electronic).

Academic Integrity: All course work must be done individually, unless specified otherwise; you may discuss ideas with others and look up references, but you must write up your solutions independently and credit all sources that you used. Any plagiarism or other forms of cheating discovered will have a permanent consequence in your university record.

Each student must pursue his or her academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another person's work as your own is always wrong. Faculty are required to report any suspected instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Judiciary. For more comprehensive information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty, please refer to the academic judiciary website at http://www.stonybrook.edu/uaa/academicjudiciary/

Americans with Disabilities Act: If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact Disability Support Services, ECC(Educational Communications Center) Building, Room 128, (631)632-6748. They will determine with you what accommodations, if any, are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential.

Critical Incident Management: Stony Brook University expects students to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required to report to the Office of University Community Standards any disruptive behavior that interrupts their ability to teach, compromises the safety of the learning environment, or inhibits students' ability to learn. Further information about most academic matters can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin, the Undergraduate Class Schedule, and the Faculty-Employee Handbook.