General Information

    When and Where: Tu/Th, 9:30-10:50PM, RY277

    Professor: Ben Zhao, ravenben at

    Professor: Heather Zheng, htzheng at

    Office Hours:

    • Ben: Wed 9-10am @ my lab: 377 Crerar
    • Heather: TBD, 371 Crerar

    Class Email List: CS333 class page on CampusWire

    Prerequisites: Solid background in networking, systems (CS233 or equivalent).


This course will focus on studying the state of the art in networking and networked systems. We will cover a variety of topics from routing protocols to Internet stability, peer-to-peer, social networks and networking for datacenters. Each topic will provide background on traditional perspectives, with updates from current and ongoing research. The expectation is that everyone has a solid background on networking basics. Discussions of background material from a textbook will be complemented by those of current publications. Students will learn tools, techniques, and concepts while learning to carry out original research in a course project, with the end goal of producing real, publishable results by the end of the quarter. In addition, students are expected to gain experience in two valuable skills: quickly reading technical papers (without sacrificing understanding), and giving public presentations.


The majority of reading material for this course will come in the form of research papers. There is no required textbook, but there are several useful texts (optional) that you can use as background material to help you better understand the papers.
  • Jerome Salzer and M. Frans Kaashoek, Principles of Computer System Design, an introduction. (Primarily for Chapters 1, 2, 7).
  • Kurose and Ross, Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach Featuring the Internet, 3rd edition.
  • Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Computer Networks, 3rd edition.
  • Peterson and Davie, Computer Networks: A Systems Approach, 2nd edition.

Class Participation

Each student is highly encouraged to read all of the relevant papers before attending class. There are no paper reviews due, unlike my previous grad courses. At the beginning of each lecture, we will randomly choose a member of the class to give a very brief 5 minute discussion of the papers, their salient points, and the most useful take-aways from each paper. While there is no specific grade assigned to the presentation, the results will be recorded, and can be used to either "boost" or "lower" your final grade if it falls between letter grades. The actual experiences themselves should help students with public speaking.

Grading Policy

Your quarter grade will be derived from homework assignments, a midterm exam, and a class project:
  • Homework assignments, 15%
  • Exam, 30%
  • Course project, 50%
  • Class participation, ?%