Distributed Systems
CSCI-GA.2621-001 , Fall 2019


Class schedule: Wed 5:10-7:00pmCIWW 101

Class instructor: Jinyang Li

TAs: Eric Yu Cao

Office hours: Jinyang (Tue 4-5pm, 60 5th Ave Room 410), Yu (Thu 4-5pm, 60 5th Ave Room 406)

Discussions: Piazza

Course information

Large-scale distributed systems are the core software infrastructure underlying cloud computing. These systems consist of tens of thousands of networked computers working together to provide unprecedented performance and fault-tolerance. Examples include distributed databases (e.g. Google's Spanner, Amazon's S3 and Dynamo), distributed computation frameworks (e.g. Hadoop/Spark and TensorFlow) or even decentralized currency systems (e.g. BitCoin). This class teaches the abstractions, design and implementation techniques that allow you to understand and build such distributed systems. Topics include multithreading, network programming, consistency, naming, fault tolerance, and security and several case studies of distributed systems.

This class is a graduate-level course, but undergraduate students are welcome! The course consists of lectures and a series of programming labs.

This class satisfies the Ph.D. breadth requirement in Systems and also serves as a M.S. capstone course.


  1. Undergraduate Operating Systems or Computer Systems Organization
  2. Extensive programming experience

Useful Books

The following books may help provide background help. None of them are required. They are listed in rough order of usefulness.