CS 396M Advanced Networking Protocols

Spring 2017  Unique No. 52380

Classroom:  GDC 2.210       Time:  TuTh 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Instructor: Simon S. Lam   Email: lam AT cs D0T utexas D0T  edu
Office:  GDC 6.826                       Hours: TuTh 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

TA:  Mubashir Adnan Qureshi   Email mubashir AT cs DOT utexas DOT edu

TA Station: GDC 1.302  Desk number 2
Office hours
:  noon - 1:30 p.m. on Jan 30, Feb 6, 13, 20, 27, Mar 6, Apr 3, 10, 17

Course Description

This is a diversity course in the Systems area. The prerequisite for this class is Graduate Standing.  It is assumed that you are familiar with protocols in the standard Internet protocol stack (TCP, UDP, IP, and Ethernet) as well as basic probability theory (i.e., random variables and probability distribution).  Topics to be covered include queueing, packet scheduling, network congestion control, security, network data plane, erasure codes, Bloom filters, greeding routing, virtual coordinates, performance analysis, and correctness proofs.

The emphasis of this class is on network protocol design to address performance, correctness, and security issues.  There is a reading list.  There is no required textbook.


Lecture slides (pdf files) are available on the class schedule page.  (Note that slides may be revised and not finalized until the day after their use in a lecture.)  Do not use laptops, cell phones, or any other electronic device during class.


Your letter grade for the class will be determined by homework assignments (30%), one in-class exam (35%), and one term paper (35% of which 20% is for the written paper submitted and 15% is for your presentation and in-class participation during student presentations). Plus and minus grades will be used for final letter grades.

Attendance. You are required to attend all classes scheduled for student presentations in the latter part of the semester. If you do not attend any of these classes, 1% of your final course grade will be deducted for each class missed without prior approval by the instructor.

Homework.  Please submit your homework (in hard copy) at the beginning of class on due date.  Late submission will not be accepted.

Examination. The examination is scheduled for March 30, 2017 in class for 1 hour and 15 minutes. It will be closed book but you can bring two 8.5" x 11" pages of printed or hand-written notes.  (One page refers to one side of a sheet of paper.) You may also bring a calculator or use the calculator function in your cell phone. However, no access to any materials online, in calculator, in cell phone, or in any electronic device, is permitted.

You will be allowed to make up the exam only with prior approval by the instructor. To get approval, you will need a compelling reason. In particular, time conflict with a job interview will not be a compelling reason. 

Term paper. Your term paper will be an individual project.  Your term paper grade will also depend upon your in-class presentation and participation during presentations of other students.  The maximum length of your paper is 6 pages (single-column) or 3 pages (double-column) using a font size of 11 pt. If you choose the double-column format, it is recommended that you use an ACM or IEEE template.  Each student must write his/her own term paper with his/her own sentences, analytical thinking, and ideas.  Copying and pasting from someone else's paper, published or not, will constitute plagiarism. The use of someone else's phrases or sentences should be attributed and shown within quotation marks.  Also, your paper should be written only for this class and not be used to satisfy the requirement of another past or present class (more term paper guidelines).

Term paper deadlines:

1. February 28, 2017 - Submit at the beginning of class a single page proposal with a tentative title, a list of three or more papers that you will study for writing your term paper, and a summary of less than 250 words.  If you submission is late, 1% of your final course grade will be deducted for each calendar day it is late.

2. April 6, 2017 - Submit at the beginning of class a hard copy of your term paper.  If your submission is late, 1% of final course grade will be deducted for each calendar day it is late. Also email a soft copy (pdf file) of your term paper to me for my class folder.

Collaboration policy:  You can discuss homework assignments with others in general terms.  However, every one must write up his/her own solutions for submission.  Do not look at or copy someone else's solution to any homework assignment, including solutions by students in a previous offering of this class. 

Please refer to the Student Code of Conduct document for additional information. You are required to abide by the Student Honor Code of the University of Texas at Austin.

Class web page & email announcements

Assignments, lecture slides, as well as special announcements are posted on the 396M class web page. I do not have a fixed schedule for posting updates, but it is a good idea to check often the master schedule for due dates and the class webpage for special announcements.  Exception: Grades will be posted on the CS 396M course page in Canvas.

The TA will set up a Piazza acccount for discussions that are relevant to this class among students. The discussions will be monitored. When there is an urgent announcement (this will be rare), the TA will email you using email addresses from the CS 396M class roster.