Course Syllabus

Location and Time

Location: 0216 Siebel Center

Time: MW 5:00 PM - 6:20 PM

Course Content

This course will introduce service-level cloud computing technologies including Hadoop, Spark, and distributed databases, as well as concepts such as IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), Cloud Functions, and containerization. After taking this course, students will have experience with cloud computing platforms and will have been introduced to the processes necessary to build scalable cloud applications.

Topics Discussed


CS225 or equivalent. Previous Python experience is recommended.

Lack of understanding of data structures or programming immaturity will almost surely result in poor course performance.

Course Grades

Grading Scale

90% 80% 70% 60%

Specific grade boundaries (+/-) cutoffs will be determined at the end of the semester at the discretion of course staff.

Extra Credit (up to 3%) will be granted to top Piazza contributors.

Machine Problem (MP) Policy

Machine Problems make up the majority of the student work for CS398. As such, it is important that students stay on top of the MP work. We suggest that students start MPs early, and go to office hours if feel like they need help.

Gitlab: MPs will be submitted through a course Gitlab repository. Each student will be issued an individual repository where they will receive starter code, and commit their completed assignments. Git commit dates will not be used in assessing on-time submission. Rather, the course staff will use the latest push to Gitlab at the deadline as your final submission. Information on using git can be found here.

Additional Policies:

Note: Majority of the MP assignments will be run on the course cluster. Additionally, we notice that many students try to complete assignments right before the deadline, and this can lead to severely decreased cluster performance.

Course staff also reserves the right to monitor and manage student submitted jobs on the cluster. If your code takes too much time to execute, or utilizes too much computing resources, course staff may terminate these jobs

Also see the cluster page.

MPs are worth 55% of the final grade.

Final Project

Students will work on a cumulative project over the course of the semester. This project will involve the use of large datasets and the cloud computing techniques that we discuss in class. At the end of the semester, groups will give presentations about their work. More information will be presented in class.

Details about the final project can be found on this page.

This project is worth 30% of the final grade.

Weekly Quiz

Every week, students will be required to complete a short multiple-choice quiz on Moodle. These quizzes are meant to ensure that students are keeping up with the content discussed in lecture. However, they will not represent a very large time commitment.

These quizzes are worth 15% of the final grade.

Office Hours

Instructors will host office hours after each lecture. You may also arrange additional office hours by appointment on a case-by-case basis.

Email Policy

Due to the large size of this course, we follow a strict email policy. Before sending an email, please read this note.

Academic Integrity

The official University of Illinois policy related to academic integrity can be found in Article 1, Part 4 of the Student Code. Section 1-402 in particular outlines behavior which is considered an infraction of academic integrity. These sections of the Student Code will be upheld in this course. Any violations will be dealt with in a swift, fair, and strict manner. MP assignments are meant to be learning experiences. You may discuss the exercises with other students, but you must code your solutions on your own. To be clear, every line of code that you submit that is not provided to you by course staff must be your own. In short, do not cheat, it is not worth the risk. You are more likely to get caught than you believe. If you think you may be operating in a gray area, you most likely are.

In addition to the standard academic integrity policy, we have an additional policy that if you leave MPs in “plain view” (public on Github, Gitlab, Pastebin, your blog), we reserve the right to reduce your final letter grade in the course once per instance, even after you are done taking the course. This means that if you received a A- in the course and you posted 2 assignments online, your final grade will be a C-.

Just remember, we consider cheating a failure on our part. If you are ever in a situation where you are forced to cheat, that means that we have not done our jobs as instructors to give you adequate resources to work through the issues that you have. If you feel this at any time, please send us an email and hopefully we can find an acceptable solution.


The university values your safety. Please read this document or watch this video.

Disability Accommodations

To obtain disability-related academic adjustments or auxiliary aids, students with disabilities must contact the course instructors and the Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) as soon as possible. To contact DRES, you may visit 1207 S. Oak St., Champaign, call 217-333-4603, e-mail or go to the DRES website.


The instructors reserve the right to make any changes they consider academically advisable. Such changes, if any, will be announced in class and/or on Piazza. Please note that it is your responsibility to attend the class and keep track of the proceedings.