15-744, Spring 2009: Computer Networks

Latest Announcements

5/1: project reports are due monday, may 11 at midnight
4/29: project presentations on friday will be in weh 5328, 230-5pm (note the different room from usual)
check your email for the presentation schedule!

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15-744 is a graduate course in computer networks. The goals are:

The past few years have seen a remarkable growth in the global network infrastructure. The Internet has grown from a research curiosity to something we all take for granted.

How does this network infrastructure work? What are the design principles upon which it is based, and how are those principles applied in practice? How can we make the Internet work better today? We will examine these issues and more during the course.

This course assumes a basic familiarity with networking concepts. The course will consist of a reading/lecture/discussion component and a project component. The class will cover approximately 50 research papers on various aspects of computer networking. These papers will introduce students to the basic design principles on which today's networks are based. In addition, these papers will cover recent proposals to improve network performance, functionality and scalability. Specific topics that will be covered include: LAN/WAN technologies, congestion/flow control, traffic analysis, routing, internetworking, multicast, security, and quality of service. Students are expected to read papers before the class and participate in the discussion during the class.

Course Staff

Teaching Assistants

NameEmailOfficeTelOffice Hours
Vyas Sekar WeH 8116 268-7228 by appointment


Hui Zhang WeH 7126 268-8945 by apppointment

Course Secretary

Kathy McNiff , , Wean Hall 7112

Paper Summaries

An important component of 744 will be reading the assigned papers with the objective of critically analyzing them and coming prepared for the in-class discussions. We require that you hand in a short 3-4 paragraph review of the paper before the class.

The goal of the review is to understand and analyze the motivations, key insights, contributions, and ``interesting'' parts of the assigned papers. Point out 2-3 aspects of what you liked about the paper (e.g., a cute algorithm trick, a clever hack, interesting problem formulation, radical rethink of an existing problem area, opening up an entire new area of research, counterintuitive insights, thoroughness of evaluation etc.). You should also be able to point out some key deficiencies in the paper (e.g., flawed or impractical assumptions, limited applicability, not corroborated by technology trends, some inefficiency in the design, some aspects of the design/implementation that the authors overlooked etc.)

Please avoid simply restating the obvious or copy-pasting from the abstract/intro of the paper. We want you to develop independent opinions and we also want to hear as many different perspectives as possible (e.g., can ideas from your area of research be applied to the problem setting, how else would you have tackled the problem.)

Register at the paper discussion site. Login and click on the collection named "15744 Spring 2009". Subscribe to the collection using the subscription code "744SP09". You can now post comments to the collection. Each paper has a deadline associated with it. Click on the paper for which you want to submit a review. Click on the "add review" link to submit your paper summary.

Course Policies


Students are encouraged to talk to each other, to the course staff, or to anyone else about any of the assignments. Assistance 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.

Late Policy

Last updated: Fri May 01 14:32:21 -0400 2009 [validate xhtml]