Distributed Systems

Subject COMP90015 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours, comprising of two hours of lectures and one hour of tutorial/laboratory classes per week
Total Time Commitment:

200 hours

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2


Equivalent subjects



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Dr Aaron Harwood, Prof Rajkumar Buyya


Email: aharwood@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:


The subject aims to provide an understanding of the principles on which the Web, Email, DNS and other interesting distributed systems are based. Questions concerning distributed architecture, concepts and design; and how these meet the demands of contemporary distributed applications will be addressed.


Topics covered include: characterization of distributed systems, system models, interprocess communication, remote invocation, indirect communication, operating system support, distributed objects and components, web services, security, distributed file systems, and name services.

Learning Outcomes:


On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Have an understanding of the principles and paradigms underlying distributed software systems
  2. Obtain experience developing distributed applications
  • Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) 1 and 2 are addressed by extensive Project work of approximately 50-55 hours of work during semester (40%), which reinforce lecture content and develop programming and writing skills. Project work is assessed in stages throughout the semester, with half of the work typically due in Week 8 and the remaining work due in Week 12.
  • ILO 1 is further addressed by a 3-hour written examination (60%)

Hurdle requirement: To pass the subject, students must obtain at least:

  • 50% overall
  • 20/40 in the Project work
  • 30/60 in the end-of-semester written examination.
Prescribed Texts:


Recommended Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should have the following skills:

  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution
  • Capacity for independent critical thought, rational inquiry and self-directed learning
  • Profound respect for truth and intellectual integrity, and for the ethics of scholarship.


The subject will be delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and project work. The project work involves developing a distributed application and writing a report.


Students will have access to lecture notes and lecture slides. The subject LMS site also contains links to recommended literature and current survey papers of distributed system principles and paradigms.


The subject provides the fundamentals in distributed systems that support a career in areas such as IT System Engineer, Enterprise Architect, Analytics, Software Developer, Systems Administration, and Network Engineer.

Related Course(s): Master of Information Technology
Master of Information Technology
Master of Philosophy - Engineering
Master of Science (Computer Science)
Master of Software Systems Engineering
Ph.D.- Engineering
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Computer Science
Computer Science
MIT Computing Specialisation
MIT Distributed Computing Specialisation
MIT Health Specialisation
MIT Spatial Specialisation
Master of Engineering (Software with Business)
Master of Engineering (Software)

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