CSC8103 : Distributed Algorithms

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


Distributed algorithms are the foundation on which system services are built. The aim of the module is to cover core algorithms by concentrating on three key attributes that are very significant in building responsive applications: processing and communication delays and component failures.

Outline Of Syllabus

Preliminaries: Synchronous and Asynchronous communication models, precedence relations, non-deterministic computations and execution configurations, basics of tree structures, and basics of cryptography.
Fundamental Algorithms: Wave and Election Algorithms for trees, rings, and arbitrary topological structures. Example applications on Routing Algorithms and e-auction sites.
Algorithms in e-Commerce: Fair Exchange Algorithms. On-line and Off-line algorithms. Contract Exchange Applications.
Algorithms for Distributed Data Management: Database Commit Protocols: 2-phase and 3-phase protocols. The requirements and the limitations of commit protocols.
Algorithms for Fault-Tolerant Distributed Computing: Replication Strategies. Reliable and Ordered Broadcasts, Reaching agreement and Consensus protocols.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion201:0020:00Lecture follow-up
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion240:3012:00Revision for end of Semester exam & exam duration
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical121:0012:00Practicals
Guided Independent StudyProject work241:0024:00Coursework
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study121:0012:00Background reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to introduce the learning material and for demonstrating the key concepts by example. Students are expected to follow-up lectures within a few days by re-reading and annotating lecture notes to aid deep learning.

This is a very practical subject, and it is important that the learning materials are supported by hands-on opportunities provided by practical classes. Students are expected to spend time on coursework outside timetabled practical classes.

Students aiming for 1st class marks are expected to widen their knowledge beyond the content of lecture notes through background reading.

Students should set aside sufficient time to revise for the end of semester exam.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A80N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M2036 hours
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination assesses knowledge of techniques and theory presented in lectures. The coursework assessment permits the assessment of practical skills in the context of a more realistic and open-ended problem.

Study abroad students may request to take their exams before the semester 1 exam period, in which case the length of the exam may differ from that shown in the MOF.

N.B. This module has both “Exam Assessment” and “Other Assessment” (e.g. coursework). If the total mark for either assessment falls below 40%, the maximum mark returned for the module will normally be 40%.

Reading Lists