General Information

    When and Where: Tu/Th, 1PM-2:20PM Chicago Time
    Virtual/Zoom (Synchronous class): Zoom info on Canvas. zoom link: link Must login using UChicago credentials.

    Professor: Ben Zhao, ravenben at

    Guest Lectures by Professor Heather Zheng

    TA: Christian Cianfarani, crc at

    Office Hours:

    • Ben: Tuesdays after class, and also by appointment (same zoom as class)
    • Christian: TBD

    Class Email List: CS333 class page on Piazza

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

    NOTE: the class is full. We are using the departmental waitlist system. I have processed 5 additional students off the waitlist, and we are officially maxed out.


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.

Like many other classes here and elsewhere this quarter, 33300 will be dramatically different from prior iterations because of covid. I will try to do real-time lectures synchronously on Zoom. I realize this may produce challenges for those in different timeszones. But I consider the interactive component of the class to be critical. We will try to record the lecture for those unable to attend synchronously. Regardless of where you are physically, please try to attend the first class meeting on Sept 29, when we will sort through some of these logistical and organizational issues.


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. Students must contribute to an evolving discussion thread on each assigned lecture on Piazza. While there is no specific grade assigned to class participation, the results will be contribute to the course grade, by either "boost" or "lower" your final grade if it falls between letter grades.

Grading Policy

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