Distributed Systems




CS 425 : ECE 428



Contact Course Staff

Fall 2020


Latest Announcements and News (please check often) - Oldest First:

  • [11/19] Final Exam Windows announced (Dec 12th 8 AM US Central - Dec 15th 8 PM US Central): Please see Lectures page (bottom) and Piazza post (@1089) on "Final Exam Logistics" for more details (read them carefully!).
  • [8/15] All students: By Thursday 9/3 please complete this survey (on-campus, remote, and MCS-Coursera students). Please complete regardless of whether you've managed to successfully register : [Survey]
  • [8/3] Website created.

Basic Information:

Class Sessions Meet: Tu and Th, 11.00 AM - 12.15 PM, on this Zoom link Zoom Password is at this Google doc (login via Google Apps at Illinois -- not gmail.com, but illinois.edu) : [replica-1] [replica-2] [replica-3] (if you can't access a doc, try another--and please close it immediately)

  • FA20: From 10/13 and onwards, there will be NO Zoom Live sessions (we might resume them later in November). All other aspects of the course remain unchanged (HWs, exams, assignments, Piazza, TA office hours). Indy will be available on Piazza to answer questions (but not in the Tue/Thu time). That is, the only change is that the Tue/Thu 11am-12.15pm sessions will not happen starting October 13th (until further notice). Enjoy your extra time, but please keep pace with the lecture videos on a week by week basis!
  • Zoom troubles? Download the Zoom app and log in using the meeting ID (97176843548) and password (links above)

All Coursera (MCS-DS) Students Go Here For All Course Content: [Coursera MCS Online CS425 Website]

All other (non-MCS-DS students) should use this current website (not the Coursera website)

For Fall 2020 (Very Important, Everyone Please Read!)

  • CS425 will be fully online.
  • All "on-campus" and MCS-Coursera students will have access to video lectures. Both "on-campus" and MCS-Coursera students can attend the Tu and Th 11 am "class session".
  • Students will be expected to watch lecture videos BEFORE class session (on campus students via Mediaspace, MCS Online/Coursera students via Coursera).
  • Class sessions (Tu, Th) will be used for brief recap, Question and Answer, and (time permitting) some Exercises.
  • Which class should you attend?
    1. Starting 9/1 (Tuesday): i) Tuesday and Thursday sessions will discuss different topics (not repeats), and ii) you can attend both sessions (we recommend it, if you can!).
    2. (invalid after 8/27) If your last name starts with A-L, please attend the Tuesday lecture.
    3. (invalid after 8/27) If your last name starts with M-Z, please attend the Thursday lecture.
    4. These apply to both "on-campus" and MCS-Coursera registered students.

All class sessions are recorded. By participating in the course and joining Zoom, you are consenting to the recording.

Discussion Forum for all students, on-campus, online and MCS-DS (fastest way to get queries answered): Piazza 

To mail staff, email: cs-425-staff@mx.uillinois.edu

Course Staff: 

Office Hours: 


[Recommended, but not Required] Coulouris, G., Dollimore, J., Kindberg, T., and Blair G., Distributed Systems: Concepts and Design, Addison-Wesley, Fifth Edition, 2011, ISBN: 0132143011. Please note: We will refer to chapter, section, and problem numbers ONLY in the Fifth Edition. If you use an older edition, correct interpretation/translation of these numbers is solely the students' responsibility (no excuses).

[Supplementary (Optional) Textbooks]

Lots of readings from the Web

Sukumar Ghosh. Distributed Systems: An Algorithmic Approach. 2006 CRC Press, ISBN: 1584885645. (Available online free at the UIUC library)

A. Tanenbaum and M. Steen, Distributed systems: principles and paradigms, Prentice Hall, Second Edition, 2005, ISBN: 0132392275.

Prerequisites: CS 241 or ECE 391 or equivalent course on Operating Systems or Networking (approval of instructor required for latter).

Grades:  Compass 2g

Waitlist: This year the department is unable to maintain a waitlist. Please do not email Indy to give you an override. In the past everyone who wanted to get in, has managed to, eventually (though there's no guarantees!). Please continue submitting HWs and MPs on time, as if you were fully registered. If you can't register by September 30th, email Indy.

Course Details Sheet: [pdf]

MP Groups (4 cr only): Fill form by Thursday 9/3 and let us know via [This Link] (before clicking, login Google Apps@Illinois via your illinois.edu account) AND send email to cs-425-staff@mx.uillinois.edu 

Student Survey: Regardless of whether you're registered for this course or not registered, regardless of whether you are on-campus or online -- [Please take survey at this link] (Fill by Thursday 9/3)

Lecture Videos (view before class session): [Mediaspace] (On-campus Students only, MCS Online Students should watch the Coursera video lectures)

Zoom Class Session Recordings: [Mediaspace] (All Students: On-campus Students, MCS Online)


Academic Integrity Policy (Please Read):

We adhere by the CS academic integrity policies outlined at this webpage. It is the course policy that all of the work you submit for grading, or in support of graded material, as an individual or project group, shall be your own product, from inception to completion. The only resources you can avail of in your HWs and MPs are the provided course materials (slides, textbooks, etc.), and communication with instructor/TA via newsgroup and email. With others (apart from yourself for HWs, and apart from your group-mate for MPs) you can only discuss course materials and the HW/MP specs. Study groups are recommended but you cannot discuss ideas or solutions to HWs and MPs. Please do not reveal solutions on any of these fora including Piazza. Exams are closed-book, closed-notes, unless otherwise specified.

We rigorously check every submitted HW and MP (including code) for violations of academic integrity.

All violations of this academic integrity policy are treated seriously in this course. Don't risk it - just avoid cheating and the temptation to! That way, you'll learn more and years later you will be happier about standing up for yourself.

Mental Health Resources (Please Read):

Diminished mental health, including significant stress, mood changes, excessive worry, substance/alcohol abuse, or problems with eating and/or sleeping can interfere with optimal academic performance, social development, and emotional wellbeing. The University of Illinois offers a variety of confidential services including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, psychiatric services, and specialized screenings at no additional cost. If you or someone you know experiences any of the above mental health concerns above, it is strongly encouraged to contact or visit any of the University’s resources provided below. Getting help is a smart and courageous thing to do -- for yourself and for those who care about you.

Counseling Center: 217-333-3704, 610 East John Street Champaign, IL 61820.

McKinley Health Center:217-333-2700, 1109 South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana, Illinois 61801.

Anti-Racism/Anti-Bias/Anti-Microaggression Policy for CS425 (Please Read):

(This statement borrows heavily from a draft statement from the Anti-Racism Task Force in the Grainger College of Engineering). This course believes in a truly inclusive Illinois that is free from overt racism, prejudice, bias, as well as from micro-aggressions (commonplace hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults)--these have no place in this course, in the classroom or outside, or on campus. We believe that Black Lives Matter. We believe that students (and faculty) who are African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino(a), Native American/Alaskan Native, and women, can live and learn without marginalization and without suffering racism, bias, and prejudice--from anyone else in the class, on campus, in our community, or in the world.

In this course, if you face any kind of bias, prejudice, or racism, from fellow students or course staff, please be courageous and speak up. If you are apprehensive to do so, or face sustained incidents, please contact the instructor (Indy) via email. If you have feedback or constructive suggestions on how to improve the anti-racist environment in this course, please contact the instructor (Indy) via email. You can also report these incidents to the BART Center (Bias Assessment and Response Team) on campus. Each of us is unique, due to our backgrounds and experiences, and so each of us makes our campus environment richer. At the same time, each of us is continually learning to be a better human being and become more aware of our own biases. A famous quote by Dr. Mae Jemison (first Black astronaut in space) captures this last sentiment beautifully, "Never limit yourself because of others' limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination."

This course also supports and adheres by the Anti-Racism and Inclusivity Stance/Statement from Grainger College of Engineering (Prof. Gupta was also involved in drafting the college's statement, as part of his Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF) membership.).

Here are Other important syllabus statements from the Grainger College of Engineering and campus.