CMPSCI 791D Home Page

Seminar: System Support for Next Generation Applications

Instructor: Prashant Shenoy
Class meeting times: TuTh 4:00-5:15
Room: LGRT 206
Schedule #: 344335

Office Hours: Thursday 2:30 - 3:30, LGRC A255, or by appointment.

Table of Contents

Course Description

The current euphoria over the World Wide Web does not do full justice to the potential of the Internet; with the manifold increase in CPU processing power and network bandwidth, it is inevitable that the future Internet will support distributed applications of great complexity. Concurrently, these technological advances have also led to a proliferation of multimedia applications that access heterogeneous data such as audio, video, images, animation sequences, text, etc. This seminar course will investigate the impact of these two trends on the design of future operating systems and networks. The first half of this course will investigate system support for distributed multimedia applications, and will include topics such as predictable allocation of processor, I/O and network bandwidth, and storage and retrieval of heterogeneous data. The second half of the course will investigate how these applications can be deployed over the Internet by providing seamless access to computational and data resources over wide area networks. Topics such as metacomputing, distributed caching on the Internet, and scalable services will be covered.

A collection of papers describing the state-of-the art in the field will be made available to students. Students will be required to present papers, participate in class discussions and complete a project on a relevant topic of interest. This course assumes familiarity with graduate courses in operating systems and computer networks. However, students without the relevant background may attend; additional material will be provided for off-line reading to fill in the gaps.


Familiarity with concepts in computer networks and operating systems design.


There is no textbook for this course. A collection of recent research articles will be made available. Most papers will be available on line from the class home page.

Course Requirements

In addition to presenting papers in class, students will be expected to understand and critique papers as well as participate in class discussions. Additionally, students will be expected to carry out a semester-long project.

Grades will be determined by a project, class presentations and class participation.

Class Participation

The success of this class depends on a high degree of participation in class discussions. To facilitate active participation, students are expected to read and critique papers in advance of the class discussion. At the beginning of each class, students must turn in a short review of the papers to be discussed. The review should: (i) summarize the main point of the paper, (ii) list important conclusions of the paper, and (iii) list any deficiencies that you found. Each review should be short and crisp (preferably less than 1/3 of a page). You may skip handing in up to 20% of the reviews with no penalty. Late reviews will not be accepted.

Class Presentations

Each student will be expected to present and lead the class discussion in one of the assigned papers. Here are some guidelines for class presentations.


The goal of the project is to do some research that advances the state of the art in the field. Projects should be done in teams of two or three. A list of suggested project and project guidelines will be posted soon.

A special laboratory equipped with five Intel P2s (running Linux) has been set up for this course. Projects involving OS kernel modifications will be given priority access to these machines.

Reading List

Prashant Shenoy
Last modified: Thu Sep 24 14:51:29 EDT 1998