Distributed Computing
ETH Zurich

Computer Engineering 2 (Technische Informatik 2) (FS 2018)

Computers come in all shapes and sizes: servers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, all the way down to that tiny microcontroller in a washing machine. People buy a computer because (i) it gives them access to the Internet, (ii) it provides storage, and probably also because (iii) it computes. While having network access seems to be vital, advanced storage and computing capabilities more and more move to designated servers ("the cloud"). In this lecture, we learn how computers provide networking, storage, and computation by means of an operating system.

We start out with networking, and discuss the internet protocol, addressing, routing, transport layer protocols, flows, some representative application layer protocols, and how to implement these with sockets. We also discuss the link and physical layer, Markov chains and PageRank, and selected topics in security. Regarding storage, we talk about file systems, the memory hierarchy, caching, efficient data structures such as hashing, and data base principles. Concerning computation, we discuss the virtualization of the processing units with processes and threads. We focus on concurrency and examine scheduling, locking, synchronization, mutual exclusion, deadlocks, and consistency.

The lecture will use various teaching paradigms. All lectures will be based on blackboard discussions, supported by a script. Where appropriate we will also use demonstrations. The lecture will feature weekly paper exercises.

Some of the course material is best learned in front of an actual computer. In addition to the lecture we offer exciting hands-on exercises in a lab environment. Please check the lab website for details.

Course languages: German (lecture, exam), English (materials).

Lecture by Roger Wattenhofer, Thursday 10-12 @ ETF C 1

Exercises organized by Simon Tanner, Friday 16-18 or Tuesday 10-12 @ ETF C 1. You can pick freely which one to attend - the two slots offer identical content. The first exercise session will be on Friday, 02. March 2018.

Info that only applies to students in Rechnergestützte Wissenschaften

There will be two extra labs that you have to attend. The dates will be announced later. The lectures on Databases & SQL (Chapter 7) as well as Dictionaries & Hashing (Chapter 8) will not be part of the exam for you.


Excluded content

Lecture material single chapters

Title Lecture Notes Exercises Responsible Assistant Additional Material
PDF 1:1
PDF 2:1
Chapter 1
PDF 1:1
PDF 2:1
Chapter 2
Network Layer & Routing
PDF 1:1
PDF 2:1
Exercises, Quiz
Simon Tanner
Chapter 3
Transport Layer & Flows
PDF 1:1
PDF 2:1
Exercises, Quiz
Georgia Avarikioti
Chapter 4
Application Layer & Sockets
PDF 1:1
PDF 2:1
Exercises, Quiz
Manuel Eichelberger
Chapter 5
Link & Physical Layers
Gino Brunner
Chapter 6
Storage & File Systems
Pankaj Khanchandani
Chapter 7 - not for RW
Databases & SQL
Pál András Papp
Chapter 8 - not for RW
Dictionaries & Hashing
Georgia Avarikioti
Chapter 9
Processes & Concurrency
Yuyi Wang
Chapter 10
Locks & Contention
Yuyi Wang
Chapter 11
Concurrent Data Structures
Pankaj Khanchandani
Chapter 12
Markov Chains & PageRank
Chapter 13
Security & Cryptography
Julian Steger


All references are accessible from within the ETH-network; OSTEP is accessible from everywhere.

[OSTEP] Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces
Remzi H. Arpaci-Dusseau and Andrea C. Arpaci-Dusseau
Arpaci-Dusseau Books
[OSYS] Operating System Concepts, 8th Edition
Abraham Silberschatz, Peter Baer Galvin, Greg Gagne.
John Wiley & Sons, 2008, ISBN 978-0-470-12872-5
[APUE] Advanced Programming in the UNIX® Environment, Third Edition
W. Richard Stevens, Stephen A. Rago.
Addison-Wesley Professional, 2013, ISBN 978-0-321-63773-4
[AMP] The Art of Multiprocessor Programming
Maurice Herlihy, Nir Shavit.
Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann, 2008, ISBN 978-0-12-370591-4