15-441: Computer Networks Syllabus


The required textbook for the course is Computer Networks: A Systems Approach, fifth edition, by Larry Peterson and Bruce Davie. It is available in the CMU Bookstore. Almost all the material that we will cover is in the textbook.

For the recitations, please see Dave's Notes on Software Engineering for Systems Hackers.

There are a few recommended texts which are useful references (especially if networking becomes your career). You can get the best price on them by ordering from an on-line bookstore.

Finally, if you have not taken 15-213, you may find its textbook useful as a gentle, software-focused introduction to computer architecture.


This semester we will again have recitations for 15-441. Please select one recitation section to attend (the content will be identical). Recitations will cover systems hacking techniques designed to save you time and pain on the projects, will go into more detail about certain topics such as TCP, and will have review sessions before exams.


Your final grade for the course will be based on the following weights for the individual assignments:

The midterm will be an in-class, closed-book exam, covering all material up to that point in the course. The final exam will be a closed-book exam, covering m aterial from the whole year, with emphasis on the second half of the course.

Project 1 will focus on the implementation of an IRC-like chat server, ensuring familiarity with socket programming. Project 2 will build upon your IRC server from project 1 implementing routing protocols within the application. Project 3 will focus on file transfers and the protocol components necessary for efficient and reliable file transfer (retransmission, congestion control, caching, etc.) Project 1 is a solo project; projects 2 and 3 are to be done in groups of two students.

The homework will combine both textbook-like questions as well as hands-on experimental exercises. There will be three homework assignments.

Because of the importance of understanding both the theoretical and hands-on elements of networking, students must pass all three components of the course (homeworks, exams, and the projects) in order to receive a passing grade for the course. This does not affect the actual letter grade assignment unless one of the components is not completed to a passing standard.


Also available as an ical file that you can subscribe to. Note that the video links are from Spring 2005 and are provided as a "best match" to the specified lecture, in the hope that they might be useful for review.

Date Instructor Topics Notes Readings
Tue 08/30 SS Introduction
[pdf] [ppt]
Wed 08/31 Wolf Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of...Sockets!
[pdf] [odp]
Recitations available via GitHub as well (feel free to contribute and fork) 15-441 Recitation Sessions
Thu 09/01 SS Protocol Stacks and Layering
[pdf] [ppt]
Readings End to End Arguments in System Design and Internet Protocols Design Philosophy.
Fri 09/02 Athula and Wolf HW 1
HW 1 released, due 9/15 9/20 at the beginning of class.
Tue 09/06 RBD Application Layer Examples
[pdf] [ppt]
Wed 09/07 Wolf Why so Software Engineeringy?
[pdf] [odp]
See Revision Control chapter of systems-se.
Also see the online Subversion book, and Git Immerstion.
Thu 09/08 RBD Physical Layer
[pdf] [ppt]
Project 1 Assigned 2.1-2.5
Fri 09/09 Athula and Wolf PJ1CP1
Project 1 Checkpoint 1 released, due 9/16 by midnight.
Tue 09/13 Wolf Cryptography: Gur Cbjre bs Xabjyrqtr
[pdf] [odp]
Read Beware of Snake Oil. Also, a steganography example! And don't forget, the title slide had ciphertext... 8.1-8.2
Wed 09/14 Athula Sockets & Concurrency and Project 1 Q& A
[pdf] [odp]
Thu 09/15 RBD Coding and error control
[pdf] [ppt]
Fri 09/16 Athula and Wolf PJ1CP2
Project 1 Checkpoint 2 released, due 9/30 by midnight. Also, Project 1 Living Document released.
Tue 09/20 RBD Datalink and ethernet
[pdf] [ppt]
Wed 09/21 Wolf Learning the Pythonic Way
[pdf] [odp]
Thu 09/22 RBD Switching and Bridging
[pdf] [ppt]
Tue 09/27 SS IP forwarding & addressing
[pdf] [ppt]
Wed 09/28 Athula HTTP Parsing
[pdf] [odp]
Wed 09/28 Wolf Testing in the Trenches
[pdf] [odp]
Learn how to use your browser, try ctrl-shift-i in Chrome. It can help test.
Wed 09/28 Charles HW 2
HW 2 released, due 10/13 10/17 @ 1:30pm
Thu 09/29 SS IP Packets, IPv6, NAT
[pdf] [ppt]
Fri 09/30 Athula and Wolf and Charles PJ1CP3
Project 1 Checkpoint 3 released, due 10/14 by midnight.
Tue 10/04 SS Routing: Distance Vector/Link State
[pdf] [ppt]
Wed 10/05 Athula Angels (OpenSSL) and D(a)emons
[pdf] [odp]
Thu 10/06 SS Routing: BGP
[pdf] [ppt]
Tue 10/11 SS DNS
Wed 10/12 Wolf No Web Server Left Behind: Doing Project 1 in Close to 48 Hours
[pdf] [odp]
Thu 10/13 RBD Router Design
[pdf] [ppt]
Tue 10/18 RBD Tunnels, Virtual circuits, ATM, MPLS, VPN
[pdf] [ppt]
Wed 10/19 Athula Midterm exam Review
Tue 10/25 SS Transport Intro
Wed 10/26 Athula Distributed HTTP Service
[pdf] [odp]
Thu 10/27 SS TCP & Congestion Control
[pdf] [ppt]
Tue 11/01 SS More TCP & Congestion Control
[pdf] [ppt]
Wed 11/02 Wolf How You're Going to Rule the World
[pdf] [odp]
Thu 11/03 SS TCP Performance
[pdf] [ppt]
Tue 11/08 RBD Web + CDNs + Caching + Hashing
[pdf] [ppt]
Helpful references Silver Needle in the Skype and An Analysis of the Skype Peer-to-Peer Internet Telephony Protocol. 9.4
Wed 11/09 Athula What does the future behold?
[pdf] [odp]
Thu 11/10 RBD P2P
[pdf] [ppt]
Mon 11/14 Wolf PJ3CP1
Project 3 Checkpoint 1 released, due 11/21 by midnight. Also, Project 3 Living Document released.
Tue 11/15 RBD VoIP, video, multimedia
[pdf] [ppt]
7.2, 9.2
Wed 11/16 Wolf There is no Such Thing as TCP: TCP Congestion Control
[pdf] [odp]
Thu 11/17 RBD QOS
[pdf] [ppt]
5.4, 6.5
Tue 11/22 SS Mobile Networking (IP & TCP)
[pdf] [ppt]
2.7, 4.4
Wed 11/23 Thanksgiving
Fri 11/25 Thanksgiving
Tue 11/29 AB Wireless neworks, ad-hoc wireless, and sensor networks
[pdf] [ppt]
Wed 11/30 Wolf You Aren't a One Man Army: Introducing 0MQ
[pdf] [odp]
Thu 12/01 SS Questioning our assumptions
Tue 12/06 RBD Security - firewalls, DoS, etc.
[pdf] [ppt]
Wed 11/30 Wolf The Last Recitation
[pdf] [odp]
Thu 12/08 RBD Class Review
[pdf] [ppt]
Sun 12/18 Athula and Wolf Final Review: A Shot in the Dark
[pdf] [odp]
in 5409 Wean Hall, 1pm-2pm or whenever the questions stop
Tue 12/20 RBD/SS Final Exam

Last updated: Thu Dec 22 15:16:27 -0500 2011 [validate xhtml]