Course syllabus


EDA387/DIT671 Computer networks lp1 HT20 (7.5 hp)

The course is offered by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Contact details

  • Examiner: Elad Michael Schiller (EMS) - elad(at)chalmers(dot)se, phone: 031-772 10 52 (examiner). No office hours. Can meet after each lecture.
  • Teaching assistants
    • Stavroula Zouzoula (SZ) - zouzoula(at)chalmers(dot)se
    • Alessio Cicero (AC) - alessio.cicero(at) 
    • Ziyu Fang (ZF) - ziyuf(at) 
    • Junlang Wang (JW) - junlang(at)


Course purpose

Computer networks cover a range of sub-specialties including self-stabilizing algorithms for computer networks, programming using the BSD socket API, software-defined networks, and communication concepts and protocols. Mastery of computer networks involves both theory and practice in the design, implementation, and use of network protocols and services.


The aim of this course is to learn to design and analyze self-stabilizing algorithms for network protocols, to have experience in socket programming, and to gain knowledge in existing communication networks including supporting systems and protocols fundamental tasks. The course, which builds on the fundamental TCP/IP courses, also aims to provide in-depth knowledge of designing and analyzing fault-tolerant network-oriented algorithms and to gain knowledge in existing communication networks, such as the Internet technology with an example of core supporting communication protocols. Experience with network-oriented programming is part of the course.



Course literature

  • The focus literature: Shlomi Dolev, Self-Stabilization, 1st edition, The MIT Press, ISBN-10:0-26-204178-2. We use this book in the part of algorithms for computer networks.  Here is a link to the publisher and Amazon. Often Chalmers Library has digital copies of this book. Unfortunately, Cremona Chalmers Bokhandel AB does not have the book in stock.
  • There is related literature which you are not asked to buy:
    • W. Richard Stevens, Bill Fenner, Andrew M. Rudoff, Unix Network Programming, Volume 1: The Sockets Networking API, 3rd edition, Addison-Wesley Professional, ISBN-10: 0-13-141155-1. We use this book in the networking API part. Here you can find some additional material. This book can be used for improving your programming abilities in the area BUT it is not required for passing the labs or the final written exam.
    • Douglas E Comer: Internetworking with TCP/IP, Volume 1, 6th edition, Pearson New International Edition: ISBN-13 9781292040813. Basic IP and TCP technology are expected to have been covered in earlier courses. It will only be treated as a rehearsal in this course. 
    • James F. Kurose, Keith W. Ross: Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach, 6th edition, Pearson International Edition: ISBN-10: 0-273-76896-4, ISBN-13: 978-0-273-76896-8. We use this book for reviewing material covered in earlier courses and for the Network security part.


Course design

This course offers learning experiences that involve hands-on experimentation and analysis as they reinforce student understanding of concepts and their application to real-world problems. Several laboratory experiments are given and involve API programming for fault-tolerance network systems, and Internet interconnections and services from a practical perspective, and protocols' design and analysis with a strong emphasis on self-stabilizing algorithms. This course provides the students with the ability to understand fundamental issues in the design of methods for computer network protocols.


Lectures, exercises, home assignments, and laboratory assignments.

Examination including compulsory elements

Written exam at the end of the course and approved lab assignments from the four parts.

Learning objectives and syllabus

Knowledge and understanding 
You should be able to describe and analyze basic protocols and their limitations on networks such as the Internet. You should also be able to analyze and discuss network issues, such as software-defined networks (SDNs), TCP connections, contention, performance, and flow control. 

Skills and abilities 
You would need to show the ability to define and analyze a computer network in terms of communication graphs and as a distributed system. You should be able critically to analyze the effect of failures, such as transient faults, message omission, and topology changes, on the system and how can such failures propagate and affect computer networks. [written exam and home assignments]During the course, the students are required to develop small-scale network applications using fundamental networking techniques. You should be able to design and develop your own network-oriented program and then test and demonstrate it in the lab. 

The written communication skills in this course include the write-up of lab reports and the demonstration of protocol correctness. You should be able to explain and demonstrate the correctness of the studied protocol as well as clearly describe the network algorithms that you design yourself. [written exam and home assignments]

The successful completion of the course requires a skillful and knowledgeable demonstration of these software developments for advanced fault-tolerant client-server and peer-to-peer architectures. You are also expected to design distributed algorithms for computer networks and to show why they work.

Judgment and approach
The student judgment skills should include the ability to describe, design, and analyze existing and new algorithms for network protocols with a very strong emphasis on self-stabilizing algorithms for computer networks. [written exam, home assignments, and labs]


Academic Honesty and Integrity 

We follow Chalmers’ guidelines for “Academic Honesty and Integrity” --- all students are expected to read this document. In a nutshell, when you write something, write it in your own words (using only your own words) --- do not copy-paste. If you need to use an algorithm that we learned in class, simply state its name and which section in the book it appears in (or cite the original article by author names, paper title, publication year, publication venue, and publisher). It is forbidden to copy-paste! There is never a need to clone any part of a code or text in your exam or lab report. Instead, cite the needed algorithm and/or lemma/theorem. The examiner is expected to report all suspected violations --- the examiner does not have a choice.


Examination: What does it Take to Pass the Course?

To pass the course you need to pass a written exam at the end of the course and approved labs and home assignments. You all need to follow the lectures, attend them, and understand the discussions.

Written exams: There will be three written exam opportunities. Each written exam will contain at least 60 points. At Chalmers 30-38 will give a 3 as a grade, 39-47 will give a 4, and 48-max 5. At GU 30-47 will give a G and 48-max VG. The knowledge base which will be evaluated in the exam consists of the course books, any handout material, the class presentations, home assignments, and labs. 

Laboratory Assignments: The course includes an extensive work plan. All labs are mandatory with some specific exceptions, which we list next to each lab. Any student is allowed, at any time and without notice, to decide not to do at most one mandatory lab from part x by performing a non-mandatory lab from part y, where x≠y.


Link to the syllabus on Studieportalen.

Link to the syllabus Chalmers.
Link to the syllabus GU.

Course summary:

Date Details Due