CS-204: Advanced Topics in Networks

Michalis Faloutsos

Time and Place: Pierce Hall -(Chemistry)  3374
Time: Tu-Thur 2:10 - 3:30     (As in the program)
Office hours: Tu: 3:30-4:30
                          Thu: 5-6      To accomodate the dbase people

Project proposals: Thu 25 April
                                  2-4 pages providing: a clear statement of the problem
                                                                         motivation-   impact(why is this interesting)
                                                                         previous work (a quick read of the most important related papers)
                                                                         proposed method to tackle the problem
Literature Survey:  Thu 9 May: in class or office hours
                                    5-7 pages of previous work (see discussion on surveys below)
                                    Note: a good survey is often publishable work.
Project presentations:  Thu 13 - Fri 14  June  (you need to schedule with me)
                                          15-20 minutes, you have to follow the proposed structure
                                           see my Tech. Writing guidelines
Final project paper:   Mo 17 June
                                     15-20 pages of a report
                                      What I have in mind is 11pt, 1.5 spaced, double or single column
                                     See my suggestions again.

You should see this as a business plan: we propose, we present and deliver a document.
We will pretend that you are dealing with a capital investor or the boss in your company or
your PhD supservisor:
     We need professionalism.
 The presentation should be treated as a thesis defense.
 The evaluation of your work will depend on the evaluation in all parts.

NEW: I will keep my presenation slides in a secret directory

NEW: Here is the schedule and list of presentations. Check it since you will need to study the related papers.

The course is oriented towards wire-line networks and focuses on
topology, measurements, modeling of the Internet and
related communication networks.
We are part of the Internet Teaching lab (see link from my page) and we will
have the chance to have projects on real BGP measurements and experiments.

Follow the project link to see some samples of projects.

1. Text-book :
   Computer Networking:
   A Top-Down Approach Featuring the Internet
           by James F. Kurose and Keith W. Ross
2. Secondary book ($16.09 in amazon):
  BGP4 Inter-Domain Routing in the Internet
        by John W. Stewart
       Date Published: 12/1998
       ISBN: 0201379511

Keep in touch and check this page again for possible changes.
Tips: a list of acronyms you should be aware of , thanks to Yong Cao's help.
The issue is not to memorize the origin but understand what they really mean and what is their importance.

Student Evaluation

60% Non-trivial project  - I will provide a list of topics
20% One  exam or assignment
20% Class Participation and presentations

Paper  Discussion Schedule

Things may change, check this page again.

 You should be able to discuss it and/or present the paper main concepts.

The page for last's years class contains a lot of information
 on conferences and journals, tools, and some scripts.


This is a course for people with a) serious interest in networks,  and
b) non-trivial background in  networks. The goals is to help
potentially interested students  see what networking research is all about, and
 to neworking students prepare for their research
(i.e. start their thesis work) and the networks depth exam.

Don't take this class unless you have a good background
and are prepared to dedicate a non-trivial amount of time on networks.
One more grad class and a seminar should be doable.


The class will be divided in the following parts:

Textbook.  Assuming networks background, this shoud be a breeze.
It is a very well written book. We will definitely do the
first 6 chapters. I will only teach very briefly some issues, you are expected
to cover the book.

Papers. We will study a fair amount of papers (~10) . Students will be expected to read a number of
papers (1-2)  for each class and discuss it. Students are expected to show up in class for
 this part (see below the 10% participation).
Here is the initial list of papers . I will be adding things soon.

BGP Routing. We will spend approximately a third of the class on BGP routing, hence
the auxiliary book.


The goal is to test the students on the textbook and/or the auxiliary book. My exams seldom require

We will have in class presentations of the papers.  Also, students at the end will
present their projects to me.

The project will be a non-trivial original piece of work. The end result should
be at the level of a decent workshop paper.  Literature surveys are acceptable. However,
they have to be thorough, synthesize the read material, and offer an interesting perspective
on the state of the art.
I will offer several ideas for projects but identifying a topic is mainly the student's duty.
Note: In previous courses, I have been very flexible on this issue. This time I will be strict.
I will be very happy to help with the report, or explain what are the expectations
but the expectations have to be met at the end. "I didn't know that I had to go that far"
is not an excuse.

We will have projects in teams of two. The team will have to identify a project
and do a proposal within the first few weeks.
The proposal is a binding agreement: you will promise to deliver something.
The idea is that a project should be a self contained piece of work that with some
extra work could be publishable.

Literature Surveys: Literature surveys are acceptable but they shold be really good surveys
to get maximum grades.
A good literature survey:
 * identify the important papers: starting from the good conferences and journals
 is a good strating point (SIGCOMM, INFOCOM, ICNP, GLOBAL INTERNET)
* synthesize the information: pure listing of papers is not a literature survey
    you have to highlight similarities, classify papers and approaches, compare them
* it has to be clear, well written, with one major topic in mind, develop
    top down (problem - main classes of approaches - subclassess of its class- etc)

A literature survey becomes someting more when it goes beyond surveying and it identifies
open problems,  proposes new methods or combination of existing methods etc.
A reasonable lit-survey typically has at least 15 papers a good one around 25
and an extensive one 30 or more. HOWEVER, these numbers are indicative:
First, it is the quality of papers that you use that matters.
Second it depends on the topic: the goal is to cover a particular subject.
 Tip: select an appropriate topic so that the amount of papers that you read are
Surveys just like other projects will be judged on a) topic interest, b) completeness,
c) innovation (new perspectives and insights), d) quality of writing.

Prerequisites: Students are expected to have taken an undergraduate class in
networks or equivalent (related working experience, self study, incredible
brain power, or determination).
I may exercise my right to not accept a student  if I can sense they won't make it.
Typically, I let students assume the responsibility of their actions, because I believe
they know better their limitations.

Here are some suggestions and guidelines for the projects .   (Under construction)

Here is my some guidelines of how a well written paper should look like:
The structure of a succesful paper
Every case is different, by when you diverge too much from the given structure
you should think twice and probably have a very good reason for it.

In more detail....

Lecture Part


Text-book (strongly suggested but optional):
   Computer Networking:
   A Top-Down Approach Featuring the Internet
   by James F. Kurose and Keith W. Ross
   (reference texbook)
   It could be found on-line last year here:

We will cover the following chapters from the text-book:

Ch. 1 Introduction (All)
Ch. 2 Application Layer (All. Except 2.6)
Ch. 3 Transportation Layer (All. In brief: 3.4)
Ch. 4 Network Layer and Routing (All)
Ch. 5 Link Layer and Local Area Networks (ONLY: 5.1, 5.3, 5.5.1, 5.5.2, 5.7, 5.8)
Ch. 6 Multimedia Networking (All.)