(Note: Be sure to click "reload" to see the latest announcements.)

May 16

The project participation grade has been posted. This grade was determined by adjusting each student's project average grade on a 4-point scale by an amount between -0.5 and +05. (one-half grade) based on other students' evaluations. The discipline was followed that the net adjustment over the group was zero; that is, the average project grade for the group is unaffected. A few deviations from this discipline were followed to adjust for exceptional cases. For example, if one student was totally non-participatory, it was just considered that the group was one smaller. As a result of this adjustment, the maximum project grade average is now 4.5 (on a four-point scale) or 112.5 (on a 100-point scale). The course average maximum will also be slightly higher than 100 as a result of this.

Example: You carried your whole group. Your project grade will be group_avg+0.5 on a four-point scale. The other students in the group will have their grades adjusted downwards, group_avg-something, where something is adjusted so the group as a whole gets grade group_avg.

Note: A slightly negative score does not indicate that you didnt work hard on the project by any means! It simply means that your contribution was deemed a little lower than some other students, and they were rewarded with a positive score which required you to get a negative score to compensate (zero sum).. Look at it this way: Your group's average score benefited from their contributions, so on net you are better off, even considering your contribution adjustment!

Note: For group's where all students contributed equally, every student would be assigned a "3", which is defined as "About average for the group". For groups with equal contribution by all, all students will make an average contribution, and all will get a "3". Groups which got non-zero contribution scores are those for which there were "1"s assigned to some students and not others. This is defined as "Very high - the largest of any member of the group including myself", which means making a larger contribution than other members.

May 14

The milestone6 and final multiple choice grades have been posted. What has not be posted thus far are the project participation grades and the final short answer and essay grades. These should be available by Friday at the latest, as well as your final course grades. Home stretch!

May 12

The discussion grades have been posted. These are basically 100*(your number of posts / maximum number of posts). Note that the course average is starting to look like a nice bell-shaped curve!

May 11

Final exam. A reminder that the final exam is available on the class homepage on Friday May 12 at noon, and due by Sunday May 14 at noon.

Discussion forum. The discussion forum posting statistics have been captured for grading, so further posts will have no impact on your grade. Some students are posting short response messages just to inflate their number of postings. This is very transparent, and will be noted and reflected in the discussion grade. This creates more work for the instructors, so please don't do it. Of course, legitimate continuation of discussion to keep the conversations on interesting topics going is very welcome.

May 8

The extra office hours this week to help you in studying for the final have been finalized:
D.G. Messerschmitt
May 8, 2:30-4 pm
517 Cory
Pieter Brouwer
May 9 and 10, 12-2pm
225B Bechtel
Simi Hoque:
May 11, 12-4 pm
485 Wurster Hall, room 485 (south side of the building across from the Architecture Slide Library)

May 4

A disabled student in the class would like to have a copy of a set of notes from somebody who has attended the class regularly and taken some comprehensive notes. The disabled students program can pay you for taking these notes retroactively. If you would be able to supply these notes please let me know and I will forward your interest to the student.

May 3

A student in SIMS is conducting a study for a new interface to the campus search engine. He is looking for volunteers to particpate in a usability study. Go here. He has some funds to reward you for participation!

Monday's class will be a review for the final and also completing the teaching evaluations. A reminder that Milestone 6 is also due Monday. The final starts Friday May 12. The project participation survey must also be filled out by the due date for the final -- if you fail to fill this out, your own participation grade will be "F" -- so get that over with and fill it out now!

April 30

Quiz-6. This sixth and last quiz will be available on the course homepage on Monday May 1 from 3 to 9pm. As before, it will be 15 questions, and you will have 25 minutes to take it (note that the time limit has been increased a bit from the early quizzes). Quiz-6 will cover Chapter 13 and Section 18.1. You are
not responsible for the remainder of chapter 18 on either the quiz or the final.

April 26

Final exam. After some discussion on the discussion forum, the format of the final exam has been established. See it posted on the course homepage. The scheduling has not changed: noon May 12 to noon May 14. The emphasis on the final is, like the midterm, your ability to extend and apply the material of the course, in this case with an emphasis on the material since the midterm. In addtion, the emphasis is on your ability to integrate all the different topics in the course, starting with Chapter 1. The best way to study is to focus on how all the topics in the course fit together, including all Chapters covered from 1 to 20.

April 21

Milestone 5. The following text has been added to this milestone to clarify the objective and also the grading criteria.

Justify your conclusions in the context of both the application you have chosen and the organizations involved.

The following criteria will be specifically addressed in grading this milestone:

Milestone 6. This milestone has also been edited, so do not use an old printout.

Hmwk-7. This assignment has been posted

April 19

Grading. Good questions have come up on the discussion forum about several aspects of course grading. In response, I have come up with the following policies.

The basic principle is that we stick with whatever grading policy was stated at the beginning of the course. Changing policy mid-stream could be perceived as unfair to students who acted upon the original policy. Accordingly:

Since some students added the course later in the semester, we need a policy to take account of that fairly:

April 14

Milestone-4. All groups should have received suggestions from Pieter by now on how to improve these milestones. Please follow his suggestions and finish the milestone by Monday at 5pm. Simi will then grade this milestone early next week.

Reading. There is a writeup available that describes how encryption works. This is a useful supplement to the lecture and book on this topic. You are responsible for this material.

Supplemental reading. The following are optional reading in case you are curious about more detail on some topics in Chapter 13. You are not responsible for anything thing here, so it is purely "pleasure reading", especially for the mathematically inclined. There is a writeup available that derives the results on the effectiveness of redundancy cited in class if you are interested. There is a writeup on how the RSA asymmetric encryption algorithm works. There is also a writeup on security in closed administrative domains.

April 13

Hmwk-6. This has been posted.

Midterm. We are sending out comments on your midterms by regular mail and private mail. Questions about grading should be addressed to: hoque@sims for Q1 and messer@eecs for Q2-3.

Milestone-4. You will be receiving feedback as to shortcomings of your report and given an opportunity to improve your report before grading. The grading criteria for this milestone are:

(22%) Realistic and accurate identification of performance attributes relevant to this application
(22%) Quantifiable estimation of how those attributes can be relaxed without affecting users
(22%) Realistic and accurate identification of scalability attributes relevant to this application
(22%) Quantifiable estimation of the scalability requirements of this application
(12%) Organization and style

April 12

Course grades. 53.7% of the grade is now in; that is, the maximum course average you can have at this point is 53.7. Remember this when you are interpreting your course average. Look at the histogram of grades across all students by clicking "graph". Remember that in the end the course is graded on a curve.

April 11

Reading. You should have read Chapter 12 by now, and should go on to Chapter 13. We will cover 13 starting on Friday.

Project. Note that both grade breakdown and comments on Milestone 3 have been sent to your "private mail" accounts (as separate messages). The comments are from Simi (even though they were sent out by Pieter) so questions should be addressed to her at The slides from yesterday's lecture in which Milestone 4 was described have been posted.

Midterm. The midterm grades have been posted. All you see on the grades page is the average over all questions. In fact, separate grades were assigned to each question, and to different aspects of each question. You will be sent (via "private mail") a breakdown of grades and associated comments according to this list. Letter grades were assigned, then converted to numerical grades (A=4, B=3, etc.), averaged, and then normalized to 100 (by multipying by 25) to yield the average on the grades page. Question 1 was graded by Simi, and 2-3 by Prof. Messerschmitt, so please address questions to them accordingly. Here are the averages by question:

In looking over the midterm average histogram, and recognizing that it should be viewed in terms of a class curve, it appears that (roughly speaking) the center of the A's is 78 and the center of the B's is 62.

Sorry that in the crush to grade these midterms I have not particpated in the discussion forum for the past week. I will get back to that now.

April 7

Project Milestone 4. A question a student asked today sensitized me to the reality that Milestone 4 of the project has not been adequately explained. To this end, I will spend some time in class on Monday talking about Milestone 4 and giving some examples. Also, I have added the following paragraph to the Milestone 4 description:

"Observe that here you are addressing the characteristics of your application and how it serves users, and not the technology supporting the application. The requirements you identify then affect the design of the technology. In estimating these performance requirements you will have to make credible and supportable assumptions about your application: how many users might you have if you are most successful, what is the activity level of those users, and how do the details of what users are actually doing affect the requirements on factors like throughput and interactive delay. For a background on the issues you should be thinking about, see Section 17.1 and the first paragraph in Section 17.3 (remembering that this is about the technology, whereas you are interested in the needs of the users, with the goal of relating that to the requirements on the technology)."

April 5

Quiz-4 has been graded and the grades as well as your answers are available. In general, scores are lower than earlier quizzes. The lower scores here and midterm problem 3 reflect that Chapter 6 is probably the most difficult in the book. Don't worry, this is why we grade on a curve. Later chapters, with the possible exception of Chapter 13, are easier.

March 25

Project Milestone 3. You should have received feedback and grades on Project Milestone 3 by "private mail". We graded six aspects of the report separately. Here they are, and the percentages assigned to each:
(30%) Impact on cost, productivity, functionality, and quality in the application domain
(20%) Innovation rather than just automation of existing processes
(15%) Impact on all individuals and organizations
(15%) Originality
(10%) Organization and style
(10%) Completeness and detail
In the grades database, only a single overall grade is given: that is the GPA for the six factors weighted by the percentages given. We also made an adjustment for the group size: most groups have five members, but groups with only four members had 0.15 added (out of 4.) and groups with only three members had 0.3 added. This is meant to compensate for the smaller research/writing resources.

March 21

Reading. You should now read Chapter 9, which will be discussed in class starting Wed. After that we will skip to Sections 11.1 and 11.2, so you should be reading those in preparation for the week after break. We will skip Section 11.3 and move on to Chapter 12.

Quiz-4. A reminder that we have the fourth quiz coming up on Monday April 3, immediately following spring break. As before it will be posted starting at 3pm.

March 18

Midterm: Remember you have a takehome midterm available after class on Wed and due before class on Fri. I have posted the midterm from last year as an example. This midterm will have a similar format, and the instructions will be identical. Note, however, that the scope of the midterm this year is somewhat larger -- including chapters 5 and 6 which weren't covered on the midterm last year.

March 12

Project grading: Here is a breakdown of the project grading by milestone. Milestone 3 is the capstone of the first three milestones, and 50% of the project grade will be based on it. (The first two milestones served as a vehicle to give you direction and guidance.) The weighting of the subsequent milestones are shown below:
M3                50%
M4                15%
M5                10%
M6                25%
In addition, 30% of the project grade will be based on an assessment of your group members as to your personal contribution to the group. More specifically, the following is the formula governing the project grade assuming each milestone M and your particpation P are all graded on a scale of 4 (4 = A, 3 = B, 2 = C, 1 = D, 0 = F):

Project grade (range of 0 to 100) = 25*(0.5*M3 + 0.15*M4 + 0.1*M5 + 0.25*M6)*(0.7 + 0.3*P/4)

March 9

Reading. You should now be reading Chapter 6 and 9. We will finish Chapter 6 next week, and discuss Chapter 9 the following week.

Midterm. A reminder that you have a takehome midterm coming up. The midterm will cover through Chapter 6 and the E6 questions on homework 5. The midterm will become available right after class on Wed March 22 and is due right before class on Fri March 24. This is to give you some flexibility on when to take the midterm, as it should only take a couple of hours to finish. This will all be done on the Web, so that you don't need to be in Berkeley. It is open book and notes, but you must work alone.

The format of the midterm is essay questions, and the goal is to see how well you can apply what you have learned. Thus, the midterm is much more like the homework and  project than the quizzes. A typical question might give you an application and ask you to describe how networked computing could serve that application, or ask you to discuss a controversial issue. The midterm counts for 17% of your grade, and the final counts for 23%.

Homework feedback. Pieter, the TA, has started posting feedback on the homework (ways in which many groups went wrong) on the discussion forum.

March 1

The quizzes are cumulative -- questions on any material covered thus far may appear -- but emphasize the more recent material. Also, a reminder that two students taking the quiz together is cheating -- a serious offense, and it will be treated as such. See the "cheating policy" link on the homepage.

Feb 27

Homework 1&2 grading is complete and grades have been posted. If a homework you believe you submitted is missing, please send email to the homework alias.

Feb 26

Please read the policy on cheating, and be aware of the serious consequences.

Feb 25

Reading. You should now we reading Chapters 4 and 5 -- we will finish both chapters next week. We will cover these chapters lightly in lecture, as they are straightforward. For the most part you are responsble for absorbing this material yourself. Bring any questions or difficult conceptual issues to class.

Hmwk 4 has been posted. Starting next week, we will post some "explorations" on the class discussion forum where we ask you to look at a particular web site and then discuss it in the forum. This will provide a learning experience regarding current developments and issues. Students are also encouraged to generate their own postings of this nature.

Project milestone 2. A reminder that project milestone 2 is due next Wed at 5pm. Please post this milestone to the class web site by that date and time -- there is no need to independently inform the instructor. This is the first milestone that will be graded, so pay attention to the guidance given in class and on the project page as to what is considered important for grading.

Feb 21

Class reflector. Only 78 out of 111 enrolled students are subscribed to receive email at the class reflector is106@sims. The rest of you are missing important messages (such as the reminder of Quiz-2 sent yesterday)! Subscribe as follows: Project feedback: Feedback has been provided to all project groups by "private email" (except for group 8, whose milestone-1 I have not seen). Here are some general impressions to consider (especially in getting a good grade!):: In addition, note that the project grading will be based on (see the project page): Teaching assistants: The TAs are a resource provided to help you, so take advantage of them! They can be particularly valuable in helping project groups define and execute the projects, and also helping you with technology issues (especially as we get more technical starting about now). They are:
  • Simi Hoque:, office hours Tuesdays 2-3 and Thursdays 2:30-3:30 in 485 Wurster Hall, room 485 (south side of the building across from the Architecture Slide Library)
  • Pieter Brouwer:, office hours Fridays 3-4 in 225B Bechtel
  • Feb 20

    Quiz upcoming! Note that you must take Quiz-2 between 3 and 9pm on Tuesday! This quiz covers Chapter 3, and is the same format as Quiz-1.

    Survey: Please take Survey-1, in which you give us valuable feedback on how the course is going! The survey results are aggregated anonymously by WebCT.

    Feb 17

    Posted milestones. We have started reading the project milestone submissions. Check your "private mail" for feedback over the next couple days. Please convene your group to refine your project ideas based on the feedback and post a new and improved milestone 1. If you would like the instructors to review the new version please notify us by email that the new version has been posted. Milestone 1 is not graded, but the grades on subsequent milestones will be based in part on how compelling and innovative your application is! Note that the two teaching assistants (Simi Hoque and Pieter Brouwer) are reading and willing to help you out in refining your ideas -- make use of them!

    The title of your project displayed under "groups and projects" is controlled by the <title> HTML tag. Please set that to the title of your project, and nothing else. Let's tidy up that page!

    Are you participating in a project group? A few students don't appear to be participating in any project groups. If you are not participating (ie. not listed on any group homepages) then you need to contact the instructor. You have also been notified by "private mail". Projects are a substantial part of your grade!

    Feb 16

    Reading: The reading assignment for "Data and information" is Section 4.1 and Section 8.2.1. Then we will be covering the remainder of Chapter 4 so you should start reading it.

    Feb 15

    Project milestone 1: If your group has had trouble getting together and organized, it is acceptable to slip the deadline. In that case please send email to the instructor before the deadline indicating the circumstance and when milestone 1 submission can be expected. In most cases it should be possible to submit by Friday. It should include:
    1. Subj: Group XX project milestone 1
    2. Your group number.
    3. List of students in the group who have participated in the discussions.
    4. List of email addresses of students in the group.
    5. Concise description of the proposed application. This will be only one to three paragraphs long, and state what is intended to accomplish and how you believe this is a compelling application of networked computing.
    You can submit milestone 1 one of several ways: The purpose of this milestone is to get your group moving in a profitable direction. In many cases there will be some discussion with the instructor and resubmissions before the milestone is completed.

    Feb 11

    Email addresses of most students have been posted on the course homepage to help you find and communicate with group members.

    Quiz-1: The solutions for Quiz-1 should now be available so you can see questions, your answers, and the correct answers. In a few cases partial credit was given due to exceeding the 20 min time limit (if so that is noted at the bottom). Also, I have turned on the feature that allows you to see the average, minimum, and maximum grades and a histogram of the distribution, for not only the Quiz-1 but also the homeworks.

    Reading: In preparaton for next week's lectures you should finish reading Chapter 3.

    Homework-3: Homework-3, due Feb. 23, has been posted.

    Feb 8

    The enrollment in the course has been updated in light of some drops, and the project groups have been reshuffled. Groups 2,9, and 24 were eliminated (since their membership had gotten too small) and their members distributed elsewhere. Many groups lost a (dropped) student and added a shifted student, so recheck your membership. Sorry for the confusion, but we are trying to keep things reasonably well balanced.

    Feb 2

    Project milestone 1: Project groups have been assigned. You can find your group at the "Groups and reports" link on the course homepage. Note that you can easily send email to your group (click on the "letter" icon) using the "Private mail" system. Read your "Private mail" often because there may be communication relative to your group, and also your instructors will use it to communicate with you regarding your grades. You should get your group organized, first by choosing a group leader for the first milestone. Note that the first milestone is due Feb. 16, so you need to get going!

    Feb 1

    Project groups: Note that I am planning on assigning project groups, rather than you choosing your own groups. The reason for this is I want to see the groups be interdisciplinary, so that you learn more from one another. Therefore, you do not need to seek out other group members.

    Homework groups: Unlike projects, you are expected to find other students with whom to work on homework. We appreciate your finding a group of two or three students, to reduce grading overhead.

    Good news: I think we have identified a second teaching assistant and will be able to enroll most or all of the waitlisted students. Stay tuned for an announcement to this effect today or tomorrow.

    Jan 31

    Two changes to homework 2: More generally, we have made the homework assigments due every two weeks rather than every week. The reason for this change is to reduce the grading time, thus enabling us to admit more students to the class. This change has been made to the course calendar: If you printed out the calendar before, you need to do it again.

    Note another change to homework 2 and subsequent homeworks: we request that homeworks be sent in an email body, and not as a MS Word attachment. This is also to reduce the grading overhead.

    All these changes are reflected in the homework 2 writeup. If you printed out homework 2 before, you need to do it again.

    You are allowed to work in groups of two or three. If at all possible, please do homework in groups! Not only is this good for learning, it also helps us reduce the grading overhead.

    Jan 26

    Homework #1 assignments for waitlisted students will be accepted up to a week late for full credit. We know you don't want to put in the full work until you know you have been admitted!

    Jan 24

    A reminder that the first homework assignment is due Wed at 5pm (and most Wed's after that).

    Note that office hours are posted under "Instructors". Your instructor has office hours MW afternoons, and your teaching assistant TTh afternoons. In addition, your instructor will participate in the online discussion forum for an hour on Tue evening, and your teaching assistant on Wed evening.

    Jan 21

    The actual problems (rather than just problem numbers) have been posted for the first assignment, in case you have not bought the book yet.

    Jan 20

    Please fill out the "course initial survey". The purpose of this is to help your instructors form good project groups with a mix of interests and backgrounds.

    Note that your first homework assignment is due next Wednesday. The second homework assignment has also been posted so that you can get a head start.