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Distributed Systems

Graduate Course (Spezialvorlesung)

Prof. Dr. Stefan Leue

Fall Term 2003/2004

Lectures: Tuesdays 14:00-16:00, Thursdays 11.15-12.00 st, Room 01-009/13, Geb. 101.
Tutorials: Thursdays 12.15-13.00 st,
Room 01-009/13, Geb. 101.

Some Notes on the Final Exam

  1. You have 90 minutes to complete this examination.
  2. This is a closed book examination.
  3. Use of a non-programmable scientific calculator is allowed.
  4. The examination consists of 5 problems that cover most areas addressed in the lecture.
  5. The content of the examination does not include the material of .NET framework.

First lecture on Tuesday, October 21, 2003.
The final exam is on Thursday, February 12th, 2004.


This course explores the foundations of building distributed systems. While computer networks provide an infrastructural backbone, distributed systems explore this backbone while providing transparency of the underlying network infrastructure to distributed applications. Aspects of distributed systems presented in this course include:

  • Fundamental Concepts of Distributed Systems: Architecture models; network architectures: OSI, Internet and LANs; interprocess communication
  • Time and Global States: Clocks and concepts of time; Event ordering; Synchronization; Global states
  • Coordination: Distributed Mutual Exclusion; Multicast; Group communication, Byzantine problems (consensus)
  • Distribution and Operating Systems: Protection mechanisms; Processes and threads; Networked OS; Distributed and Network File Systems (NFSs)
  • Middleware: Middleware; Distributed object models; Remote invocation; CORBA; Name and directory services
  • Security: Security concepts; Cryptographic algorithms; Digital signatures; Authentication; Secure Sockets

The course will be taught in English. In the course of the Viror project this course will be exported as a tele teaching event to the University of Mannheim. The course is suitable for students at the Diploma and Master's level. While a background in computer networks may be helpful, it is not a prerequisite for this course.

Organization of the final exam

Course Materials (Access to PDF files of course transparencies)



  • (text book) George Coulouris, Jean Dollimore and Tim Kindberg, Distributed Systems: Concepts and Design, 3rd edition, Addison-Wesley, ©Pearson Education 2001. [web site for this book]
  • (reference text) Andrew S. Tanenbaum and Maarten Van Steen, Distributed Systems: Principles and Paradigms, Prentice-Hall, September 2001. [web site for this book]
  • (reference text) Nancy Lynch, Distributed Algorithms, Morgan Kaufmann, 1996
  • (reference text) Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Computer Networks, 3rd ed., Prentice-Hall, 1996
  • (reference text) Sape Mullender (Editor), Distributed Systems, Addison-Wesley, 1993