521266S Distributed Systems (spring 2014)

  • The opening lecture takes place on Wed 15.1.2014 at 10:15 in TS127 - be there!
  • Please note that this page provides only basic information of the course, and it will NOT be updated constantly during the course. Optima is the "official" storage space for all course related information.
    The course gives a description of the key principles of distributed systems and the major design paradigms used in implementing distributed systems.


  • Principles;
  • Architectures;
  • Processes;
  • Communication;
  • Naming;
  • Synchronization;
  • Consistency and replication;
  • Fault tolerance;
  • Security;
  • Distributed object-based systems;
  • Distributed file systems;
  • Distributed web-based systems;
  • Distributed coordination-based systems.

  • The implementation is fully in English.
  • Lectures (voluntary);
  • Problem solving sessions (voluntary);
  • Course work (mandatory);
  • The course is passed with a final exam or with a set of intermediate exams, together with an approved course work;
    Selected parts of Andrew S. Tanenbaum and Maarten van Steen, Distributed Systems - Principles and Paradigms, Second Edition, ISBN 0-13-239227-5, Prentice Hall, 2007.


  • Computer Networks;
  • Operating Systems;
  • Software Engineering.
    6.0 cp.

    Lectures are available as self-study material in Flash format in Optima.

    Each problem set contains 2 questions which are solved in detail by a TA at the problem solving session. Further, each set contains additional 2-4 questions for which TA's provide assistance but no detailed solutions. At least one quest ion in the intermediate exam will be selected from these additional questions.


  • Each student has to submit an approved course work to pass the course;
  • Course work is graded on scale F(ail)/0-6 points;
  • See specification in Optima for details;
  • The early bird deadline for submitting the course work is TBD. An approved course work submitted by the early bird deadline will be awarded with +1 bonus point.
  • The final submission deadline is TBD (firm, no exceptions).

  • Optima contains lecture slides and videos, discussion forums, problems, exams, exam results, etc. Please make sure that your contact information in Optima is correct.

  • Selected sections from course book (Andrew S. Tanenbaum and Maarten van Steen, Distributed Systems - Principles and Paradigms, Second Edition, ISBN 0-13-239227-5, Prentice Hall, 2007).

  • Lecturer: Professor Timo Ojala (send mail) (homepage)
  • Assistants: Simo Hosio and Marko Jurmu (send mail)

  • Note: If you send email to teaching personnel, please use the following format for the Subject line: [DS] "title of your matter"

    To pass the course you:
    1) Have to score at last 8/24 points in the final exam or accumulate at least 8/24 points from the three intermediate exams (each worth 8 points) taken at lectures. These two alternatives are not mutually exclusive, i.e. you can go for both approaches.
    2) Have to submit an approved course work, which contributes 0-7 points.
    3) May get up to 2 points from group size (see group dynamics).
    4) Have to accumulate at least 11 points in total. In other words, if you accumulate say 8 points from the intermediate exams or the final exam, you need to score at least 3 points elsewhere (course work, group dynamics) to pass the course.

    Point total = points from final exam or intermediate exams (8-24) + points from course work (0-7) + points from group size (0-2).
    Final course grade is based on point total as follows:
    11.00 -> 1
    14.00 -> 2
    17.00 -> 3
    20.00 -> 4
    23.00 -> 5

    The course employs voluntary group dynamics to stimulate the more efficient learning methodologies with higher retention rates than traditional lectures. Students are encouraged to form groups of 3-4 students, which study together. Forming of groups is motivated by awarding bonus points based on group's participation in intermediate exams: a 4-student group can accumulate max 2 bonus points, while a 3-student group can accumulate max 1 bonus point. These bonus points do not contribute towards the minimum amount of 8 exam points required for passing the course. The bonus points do contribute towards the minimum of 11 total points required for passing the course. See Optima for further details.

    Weekly lecture hall times: Wed 10-12 (TS127), Thu 12-14 (TS127).
    Detailed schedule is available in Optima.