A distributed system is one in which the failure of a computer you didn't even know existed can render your own computer unusable.
--- Leslie Lamport, an e-mail message
28 May 1987
This is a graduate-level, advanced course on client-server computing; see the CS 537 entry in the course catalog for the formal description of the course.
The prerequisites for this class are CS 505, Operating Systems Concepts and CS 514, Networks. You must be not only a good programmer, but also a productive programmer; you will be writing lots of code in this class, and it has to be working code if you want to pass with a good grade.
The course is divided into a two-week introduction and three one-month sections; see the syllabus for details.
The class meets in Edison Hall 120 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:10 to 10:00 p.m. There are no classes on Tuesday, 11 March, and Thursday, 13 March due to Spring Recess.
The course objective is to become familar with the communication network-based computational model known as client-server computing. At the end of this course you should
- be aware of the characteristics of client-sever computing,
- understand the issues associated with client-server computing,
- know the basic approaches for implementing client-server computations via the TCP/IP suite.
R. Clayton, Howard B-13, email@example.com, 732 263 5522. Office hours are on Tuesdays from 4 to 5 p.m. and Thursdays from 5 to 6 p.m. in my office. I'm also usually happy to talk to you any time you can catch me; setting up an appointment is recommended, see my schedule for available times.
There will be three tests and three programming assignments; see the syllabus for the schedule. Tests will be given in class, and are closed book with no notes; calculators and computers will not be necessary. The tests are cumulative, covering everything taught up to and including the class before the test. Tests should take no more than an hour to complete, and will be given in the first hour of class. Test answers will be made available off the syllabus.
Each programming assignment will be made available on the syllabus at the start of the associated section. Programming assignments are due one month from the day the assignment is issued. My version of the programming assignment will be made available on the syllabus. See the assignment descriptions off the the syllabus for more details on the programming assignments.
The final grade is a straight, unweighted average of test scores and homework grades; that is, there are six grades total - three from tests and three from the programming assignments - and each grade constitutes one-sixth of your final grade.
The usual grade ranges are in effect: GRADERANGES() All grades are kept with one digit of precision to the right of the decimal point and 0.05 rounded up. No grades are adjusted to a curve; that means, for example, that 89.9 is always a B+, never an A-.
There are two required textbooks for this course:
- Internetworking With TCP/IP Volume III: Client-Server Programming and Applications (ISBN 0-13-032071-4) by Douglas Comer and David Stevens, Prentice Hall, 2001.
- TCP/IP Sockets in C (ISBN 1-55860-826-5) by Michael Donahoo, and Kenneth Calvert, Morgah-Kaufman, 2001, with errata.
You should feel free to send me e-mail. Unless I warn you beforehand, I'll usually respond within a couple of hours during the usual work days; if I don't respond within a day, resend the message.
Mail relevant to the class will be stored in a hyper-mail archive. If your message is of general interest to the class, I'll store it, suitably stripped of identification and along with my answer, in the archive.
The class news group
mu.cs.cs537can be found at the news server on
cslab.monmouth.edu. The news group is not available outside Monmouth University. Those unfamiliar with news groups will probably find it easiest to start with Netscape Navigator (last modified on 4 September 2002).
If you're reading this on paper, you can find the class home page at http://www.monmouth.edu/rclayton/web-pages/s03-537/index.html. I'll make the class notes, assignments, and tests available off the syllabus; you should get in the habit of checking the home page and syllabus regularly.
People who need assistance or accommodations above and beyond what is usually provided in class should contact the University's ADA/504 coordinator to get those needs met. See me or the Disability Services page for more details.
I have no class attendance policy; you may attend class or not as you see fit. However, I hold you responsible for knowing everything that goes on in class; "I wasn't in class for that." is not an acceptable excuse for a wrong answer, or for giving no answer at all.
My attendance policy applies only to lecture attendance; it does not apply to other kinds of attendance which may be required for the course. Repeated failures to meet the attendance expectations set for tests, meetings, projects, labs or other forms of course work will have a bad influence on your grade.
I deal with suspected cheating by failing first and asking questions later. Although cheating has many forms, I generally consider cheating to be any attempt to claim someone else's work as your own; also, I consider both the provider and the user of the work guilty of cheating. See the chapters on Academic Information and the Student Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook for more details.
Complaining about Grades
I recognize and encourage a student's sacred right to complain about their grade. There are, however, a few rules under which such complaining should take place, and those students who don't follow the rules will be less successful in their complaints than those students who do follow the rules.
First, the only complaint that matters is that something got marked wrong when it was actually right. When you come to complain, be prepared to present, in explicit detail, what it is you did and why you think it's right.
Second, complaints about a particular test or assignment are only valid until the next test or assignment is due; after that point the book is permanently closed on all previous test or assignment grades.
Assignments must be turned in by their due date; assignments turned in after their due date are late. You should contact me as soon as possible if you need to negotiate a due-date extension. The longer you wait to negotiate, the less likely it is you'll be successful; in particular, you have almost no chance of getting an extension if you try for one the day before the due date, and you have no chance of getting an extention on the due date.
A late assignment is penalized five points a day for each day it's late. I use a 24-hour clock running from midnight to midnight to measure days; note this means that an assignment handed in the day after it's due is penalized ten points: five for the day it was due and five for the next day.
There may occasionally be a conflict between taking a test and doing something else, particularly among those working full time. If you're going to be out of town, or on jury duty, or whatever, on a test day, let me know beforehand and we'll discuss a make-up test.
A make-up test must be scheduled to be taken by the date of the test following the missed test (or the final exam if you miss the last test). If a missed test is not made up by the time of the next test, you get a zero for the missed test.
There will be only one make up given per missed test. If more than one person misses the same test, those people will have to coordinate among themselves to pick a mutually agreeable date for the make up.
The previous time I taught this course.
A page of free CORBA implementations.
Beej's guides to socket programming and UNIX IPC.
A CORBA-DCOM compairson, and another.
The Data and Analysis Center for Software's page of client-server pages.
This page last modified on 13 January 2003.