5/5Waiting lists
The registrar does not enforce prerequisites for graduate students, so all grad students are put on the waiting list until we can verify the prerequisites. This process starts in mid-August. Do not send the instructors pleading to be moved off the waiting list - it will not help your case. Note that a long waiting list does not mean that the course is full. Many students on the course do not meet the prerequisites or list the course as a backup.
Both 15-441 and 15-641 have a prerequisite. Details are provided furtherdown on this page.
Welcome to 15-441/641! This is web site is mostly a copy of the Fall 2016 offering of the course so you can get can get an idea of the course syllabus and assignments. Details will be updated later.


15-441/641 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, one mid-term exam and one final.


"Introduction to Computer Systems" is a prerequisite for the course. It is offered under the following course numbers 15-213, 18-213, and 15-513. Graduate students must get a B to satisfy the prerequisite. Students who have taken the prerequisite course at CMU get priority when we move students from the waiting list.

Once student who meet the prerequisites have been cleared, we will consider students with a strong systems background. These decisions will be made in the first or second week of the semester. Do not send mail to the instructors about this (e.g., explaining your background) - it will not help your case.

Course Staff


NameEmailOfficeOffice Hours
Justine Sherry GHC 9227 TBD
Peter Steenkiste GHC 9107 TBD

Teaching Assistants

NameEmailOfficeOffice Hours

Course Secretary

Angela Malloy GHC 9006

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. You may not supply work that you complete during 15-441 to other students in future instances of this course (just as you may not use work completed by students who've taken the course previously). If you have any question about whether some activity would constitute cheating, please feel free to ask the instructors.

Academic Integrity

The Carnegie Mellon University Policy on Integrity applies. We will strictly follow university policy on reporting cases of cheating.

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 are problems, and your problems before they inflate into crises.

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! 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.

Taking Care of Yourself

Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle this semester by eating well, exercising, avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting enough sleep and taking some time to relax. This will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress.

All of us benefit from support during times of struggle. You are not alone. There are many helpful resources available on campus and an important part of the college experience is learning how to ask for help. Asking for support sooner rather than later is often helpful.

If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support. Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS) is here to help: call 412-268-2922 and visit their website at http://www.cmu.edu/counseling/. Consider reaching out to a friend, faculty or family member you trust for help getting connected to the support that can help.


Last updated: 2017-08-20 10:53:58 -0400 [validate xhtml]