These figures show, in order, (1) a peer to peer system (Gnutella), (2) a datacenter, (3) an IoT/sensor network, (4) the Internet ISP topology.


CS 525 Spring 2024

Advanced Distributed Systems

[Wednesdays and Fridays] @ [11:00 AM - 12.15 PM] @ [1310 DCL]


Instructor: Dr. Indranil Gupta ("Indy"), indy at illinois dawt edu, Zoom/3112 SC.

Indy's Office hours: Right after class until 1 PM (chat right after class or in his office 3112 SC).

TAs: Anna Karanika (annak8) and Beomyeol Jeon (bj2); Office hours by appointment only.

Class Discussion Forum: Piazza

Important Links and Handouts

>> Paper Selections <<
>> Schedule and Sign-up Sheet <<

Course Information [pdf]  

Doing Presentations, Reviews, and Scribes



Project Idea Starters, Resources and Interesting Links [htm]
  writing your term paper/project survey/midterm/final report [htm]

Structuring Your Project Code [pdf]



This is a course on distributed systems. It brings together research centered in cloud computing, peer-to-peer systems, distributed algorithms and on sensor networks. The course reviews classical work in these scattered areas of distributed computing research, and explores overlaps across them. The course has one semester-long project that is aimed at producing either an entrepreneurial effort for industry or  a conference/workshop-quality research paper. The entrepreneurial effort must make a technological case and a reasonable business case for innovation in today's world. The paper must address an open research problem, prove bounds and/or propose new algorithms, and contain analytical and experimental evaluation. Previous course projects have had high success rates at conferences/workshops (see past CS525/CS598IG projects at the bottom of this page). Three to five "best projects'' at the end of the semester will be earmarked for expedited submission to a renowned conference, with the help of the instructor's involvement even after the semester is over. 

This is an in-person course only. Alas due to the discussion-oriented nature of the class, we do not have online or hybrid sections.

Experimental Testbeds: All students will get access to a few VMs in the CS VM server farm (details forthcoming in Feb). Students can also request course staff for a CloudLab (formerly Emulab) project (there are limited number of resources available for the first few groups that ask). Please note: (1) all requests will be granted on an as-needed basis, and (2) you will be given an account on typically only one of these last two testbeds, so please choose carefully depending on your project requirements! In general, there are plenty of cluster resources available in the department, so try to procure some of those! (alternately, AWS and sometimes Google cloud/Azure give out student grants, which you have to apply for individually).


Latest News

1/3/23: Course web page online. Happy New Year 2023! All updates will be posted on Piazza (see link above).

Policies on Ethics, Attribution and Cheating

A Sampling of Past CS525/CS598IG Projects that were Subsequently Published in Conferences/Journals (check for more recent papers since 2016, and for PDFs of the papers below)

There have been many papers published from CS525 sessions subsequent to Spring 2016, but I have sadly not been able to keep the (long) list below updated since 2016! Find them all at:

Select Spring 2016 CS525 Project Papers that became conference/journal papers

Select Spring 2015 CS525 Project Papers that became conference/journal papers

Select Spring 2014 CS525 Project Papers that became conference/journal papers

Select Spring 2013 CS525 Project Papers that became conference/journal papers

Select Spring 2010 CS525 Project Papers that became conference/journal papers

Select Spring 2009 CS525 Project Papers that became conference/journal papers

Select Spring 2008 CS525 Project Papers that became conference/journal papers

Select Spring 2007 CS525 Project Papers that became conference/journal papers

Select Spring 2006 CS598IG Project Papers that became conference/journal papers

Select Fall 2004 CS 598IG Project Papers that became conference/journal papers

Academic Integrity Policy (Please Read):

We adhere by the CS academic integrity policies outlined at this webpage. It is the course policy that all of the work you submit for grading, or in support of graded material, as an individual or project group, shall be your own product, from inception to completion. You cannot copy or appropriate code, ideas, written text, figures, or anything else (no, not even from papers we have read in class). As always, the golden rule is -- cite the paper! Always attribute to the original source. In some cases, it may be possible for you to reproduce some of these (e.g., a figure in your paper), but always with the proper attribution. We rigorously check every submitted assignment (including code) for violations of academic integrity.

We rigorously check every submitted HW and MP (including code) for violations of academic integrity.

All violations of this academic integrity policy are treated seriously in this course. Don't risk it - just avoid cheating and the temptation to! That way, you'll learn more and years later you will be happier about standing up for yourself.

Mental Health Resources (Please Read):

Diminished mental health, including significant stress, mood changes, excessive worry, substance/alcohol abuse, or problems with eating and/or sleeping can interfere with optimal academic performance, social development, and emotional wellbeing. The University of Illinois offers a variety of confidential services including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, psychiatric services, and specialized screenings at no additional cost. If you or someone you know experiences any of the above mental health concerns above, it is strongly encouraged to contact or visit any of the University’s resources provided below. Getting help is a smart and courageous thing to do -- for yourself and for those who care about you.

Counseling Center: 217-333-3704, 610 East John Street Champaign, IL 61820.

McKinley Health Center:217-333-2700, 1109 South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana, Illinois 61801.

Anti-Racism/Anti-Bias/Anti-Microaggression Policy for CS525 (Please Read):

(This statement borrows heavily from a draft statement from the Anti-Racism Task Force in the Grainger College of Engineering). This course believes in a truly inclusive Illinois that is free from overt racism, prejudice, bias, as well as from micro-aggressions (commonplace hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults)--these have no place in this course, in the classroom or outside, or on campus. We believe that Black Lives Matter. We believe that students (and faculty) who are African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino(a), Native American/Alaskan Native, and women, can live and learn without marginalization and without suffering racism, bias, and prejudice--from anyone else in the class, on campus, in our community, or in the world.

In this course, if you face any kind of bias, prejudice, or racism, from fellow students or course staff, please be courageous and speak up. If you are apprehensive to do so, or face sustained incidents, please contact the instructor (Indy) via email. If you have feedback or constructive suggestions on how to improve the anti-racist environment in this course, please contact the instructor (Indy) via email. You can also report these incidents to the BART Center (Bias Assessment and Response Team) on campus. Each of us is unique, due to our backgrounds and experiences, and so each of us makes our campus environment richer. At the same time, each of us is continually learning to be a better human being and become more aware of our own biases. A famous quote by Dr. Mae Jemison (first Black astronaut in space) captures this last sentiment beautifully, "Never limit yourself because of others' limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination."

This course also supports and adheres by the Anti-Racism and Inclusivity Stance/Statement from Grainger College of Engineering (Prof. Gupta was also involved in drafting the college's statement, as part of his Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF) membership.).

Here are Other important syllabus statements from the Grainger College of Engineering and campus.

(C) Indranil Gupta, 2003 - Present.