15-441, Fall 2008: Computer Networks

Latest Announcements

12/7: Homework 4 solutions online, can be picked up Monday
The solutions to homework 4 are now online, and you may pick up your graded homework from Marilyn's office (Wean 7106) after 1pm on Monday.
12/5: Review session Wed 12/10 in Wean 7500 7-9pm
The TAs will be holding a pre-final review session in Wean Hall 7500 from 7 to 9pm on Wednesday.
12/5: Sample exams online
See the exams page.

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15-441 is an introductory course in computer networks. The emphasis will be on the basic performance and engineering tradeoffs in the design and implementation of computer networks. To make the issues more concrete, the class includes several multi-week projects requiring significant design and implementation.

The goal is for students to learn not only what computer networks are and how they work today, but also why they are designed the way they are and how they are likely to evolve in the future. We will draw examples primarily from the Internet. Topics to be covered include: congestion/flow/error control, routing, addressing, naming, multi-casting, switching, internetworking, and network security. Evaluation is based on homework assignments, the projects, and two mid-term exams.


Because this course has a big project component, you must be proficient in C programming on UNIX systems. It is required that you have taken 15-213 and gotten a "C-" or higher since many of the programming skills you will need are taught in that course. If you received a C in 15-213, we strongly recommend that you enroll in 15-395 to sharpen your systems skills before taking 15-441.

Course Staff

Teaching Assistants

NameEmailOfficeOffice Hours
Nate Bauernfeind 3108 / 3130 Th 11:00 - 12:00
Vijay Panghal 3108 / 3130 F 13:00 - 14:00
Joshua Primero 3108 / 3130 Tu 16:30 - 17:30


David Andersen WeH 8206 268-3064 M 14:00 - 15:00
Seth Goldstein WeH 7122 268-3261 M 11:00 - 12:00

Course Secretary

Angela Miller, , Wean Hall 8215, Tel: 412-268-3261

Course Policies


Students are encouraged to talk to each other, to the TAs, to the instructors, or to anyone else about any of the assignments. Any assistance, though, must be limited to discussion of the problem and sketching general approaches to a solution. Each student must write out his or her own solutions to the homework. The project handouts have more detailed information about collaboration when working on the projects, but, basically, each programming project group must write their own code and documentation for the programming projects done as a group.

Consulting another student's or group's solution is prohibited, and submitted solutions may not be copied from any source. These and any other form of collaboration on assignments constitute cheating. If you have any question about whether some activity would constitute cheating, please feel free to ask the instructors.

You may not supply work that you complete during 15-441 to other students in future instances of this course or for use in future instances of this course (just as you may not use work completed by students who've taken the course previously).

Late Policy

Take project and homework deadlines seriously. Our experience is that students often seriously underestimate the effort involved in programming assignments and projects. If we give you 4 weeks to complete an assignment, there is typically a reason. In the interest of fairness, we have adopted the following late policy:


If you think we made a mistake in grading, please return the assignment with a note explaining your concern to the course secretary no later than two weeks after the day the assignment was returned. We will have the question re-graded by the person responsible for grading that question.

Partner Problems

Please try to avoid having partner problems. Seriously! Share your hopes before they turn into concerns, your concerns before they have problems, and your problems before they inflate into crises.

Also, in order for the course staff to help you and your partner work through issues, or for us to provide an appropriate response to serious partner problems, you must contact us well before the relevant due date! While some problems can never be truly solved, it is likely that your career after CMU will you to sometimes "involve management" to address issues with co-workers, and will certainly require you to work out all sorts of problems with your co-workers. If you find yourself in a situation which you can't resolve, it will provide you with an opportunity to practice interacting with management.

A special case to avoid is coming to us a day or two before a major deadline to tell us that your partner has been ill (etc.) for multiple weeks. We, and thus you, have many more options if you inform us while a problem is developing, instead of after the fact.


Last updated: Mon Jan 12 22:59:17 -0500 2009 [validate xhtml]