|Overview | Assignments | Policies|
CIS 5550: Internet and Web Systems (Spring 2023)
This course focuses on the issues encountered in building Internet and Web systems, such as scalability, interoperability, consistency, replication, fault tolerance, and security. We will examine how services like Google or Amazon handle billions of requests from all over the world each day, (almost) without failing or becoming unreachable. We will study how to collect massive-scale data sets, how to process them, and how to extract useful information from them, and we will have a look at the massive, heavily distributed infrastructure that is used to run these services and similar cloud-based services today.
An important feature of the course is that we will not just discuss issues and solutions but also provide hands-on experience, using web search as our case study. There will be several substantial implementation projects throughout the semester, each of which will focus on a particular component of the search engine, such as frontend, storage, crawler, or indexer. The final project will be to build a Google-style search engine, and to deploy and run it on the cloud.
Notice that this is NOT a course on web design, or on web application development! Instead of learning how to use a web server such as Apache or a scalable analytics system such as Spark, we will actually build our own little web server, and a little mini-"Spark”", from scratch. As a side effect, you will learn about some aspects of large-scale software development, such as working with APIs and specifications, thinking about modularity, reading other people's code, managing versions, and debugging.
CIS 5550 is now a core course for the MSE degree as well as an option for the WPE I requirement for PhD students. The Daily Pennsylvanian published a nice article about this course.
The format will be two 1.5-hour lectures per week, plus assigned readings. There will be regular homework assignments, two in-class midterms, and a substantial implementation project with experimental validation and a report.
Time and locationMondays + Wednesdays noon-1:30pm (LRSM Auditorium)
This course expects familiarity with threads and concurrency, as well as strong Java programming skills. Those highly proficient in another programming language, such as C++ or C#, should be able to translate their skills easily. The course will require a considerable amount of programming, as well as the ability to work with your classmates in teams.
Distributed Systems: Principles and Paradigms, 3rd edition, by Tanenbaum and van Steen, Prentice Hall (ISBN 978-1530281756).
Additional materials will be provided as handouts or in the form of light technical papers.
GradingHomework 40%, Term project 25%, Exams 30%, Participation 5%
PoliciesYou can find a list of key course policies here.
Homework assignments are available for download. Please join the discussion group as well!