Distributed Computing
ETH Zurich

Principles of Distributed Computing (FS 2019)

Course cataloguePrevious yearPODC lecture collection

Distributed computing is essential in modern computing and communications systems. Examples are on the one hand large-scale networks such as the Internet, and on the other hand multiprocessors such as your new multi-core laptop. This course introduces the principles of distributed computing, emphasizing the fundamental issues underlying the design of distributed systems and networks: communication, coordination, fault-tolerance, locality, parallelism, self-organization, symmetry breaking, synchronization, uncertainty. We explore essential algorithmic ideas and lower bound techniques, basically the "pearls" of distributed computing. We will cover a fresh topic every week.

Graded Homework Assignment

We will have two graded homework assignments (compulsory continuous performance assessment). Each graded homework assignment will account for 10% of the final grade, the main exam will be 80% of the final grade.

Lecture Material

Chapter Title Lecturer Lecture Notes Exercises Responsible Assistant Additional Material
Chapter 0
Roger Wattenhofer
Chapter 1
Vertex Coloring
Roger Wattenhofer
Chapter 2
Tree Algorithms
Roger Wattenhofer
Chapter 3
Coloring General Graphs
Mohsen Ghaffari
Chapter 4
Lower Bounds for Coloring Trees
Mohsen Ghaffari
Chapter 5
Maximal Independent Set
Mohsen Ghaffari
Chapter 6
Network Decomposition
Mohsen Ghaffari
Chapter 7
Shared Objects
Roger Wattenhofer
Chapter 8
Distributed Sorting
Roger Wattenhofer
Chapter 9
Global Problems 1
Roger Wattenhofer
Chapter 10
Global Problems 2:
Minimum Spanning Tree
Mohsen Ghaffari
Chapter 11
Global Problems 3
Mohsen Ghaffari
Chapter 12
Graph Sketching
Mohsen Ghaffari
Chapter 13
Labeling Schemes
Roger Wattenhofer


These books are available at CS text book collection.

[peleg] Distributed Computing: A Locality-Sensitive Approach
David Peleg.
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), 2000, ISBN 0-89871-464-8
[aw] Distributed Computing: Fundamentals, Simulations and Advanced Topics
Hagit Attiya, Jennifer Welch.
McGraw-Hill Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0-07-709352 6
[hkpru] Dissemination of Information in Communication Networks
Juraj Hromkovic, Ralf Klasing, Andrzej Pelc, Peter Ruzicka, Walter Unger.
Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, 2005, ISBN 3-540-00846-2
[leighton] Introduction to Parallel Algorithms and Architectures: Arrays, Trees, Hypercubes
Frank Thomson Leighton.
Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc., San Francisco, CA, 1991, ISBN 1-55860-117-1
[clr] Introduction to Algorithms
Thomas Cormen, Charles Leiserson, Ronald Rivest.
The MIT Press, 1998, ISBN 0-262-53091-0 oder 0-262-03141-8