NETS 212: Scalable and Cloud Computing (Fall 2017)

Instructor Andreas Haeberlen
Location: 560 Levine Hall
Office hour: Tuesdays 2-3pm (Levine 560)
Time and location Tuesdays/Thursdays 4:30-6:00pm
LRSM Auditorium
Teaching assistants Dhruv Agarwal (
Office hour: Mondays noon-1pm (5th floor GRW bump space)

Max Doppelt (
Office hour: Fridays 2-3pm (5th floor GRW bump space)

Benjamin Judd (
Office hour: Thursdays 3-4pm (5th floor GRW bump space)

Tony Kang (
Office hour: Fridays 1-2pm (5th floor GRW bump space)

Aspyn Palatnick (
Office hour: Mondays 3-4pm (5th floor GRW bump space)

Sumit Shyamsukha (
Office hour: Tuesdays 3-4pm (5th floor GRW bump space)

Robert Zajac (
Office hour: Wednesdays 11am-noon (5th floor GRW bump space)
Course description What is the "cloud"? How do we build software systems and components that scale to millions of users and petabytes of data, and are "always available"?

In the modern Internet, virtually all large Web services run atop multiple geographically distributed data centers: Google, Yahoo, Facebook, iTunes, Amazon, eBay, Bing, etc. Services must scale across thousands of machines, tolerate faults, and support thousands of concurrent requests. Increasingly, the major providers (including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, HP, and IBM) are looking at "hosting" third-party applications in their data centers - forming so-called "cloud computing" services. A significant number of these services also process "streaming" data: geocoding information from cell phones, tweets, streaming video, etc.

This course, aimed at a sophomore with exposure to basic programming within the context of a single machine, focuses on the issues and programming models related to such cloud and distributed data processing technologies: data partitioning, storage schemes, stream processing, and "mostly shared-nothing" parallel algorithms.

NETS212 is a required course for the NETS program and for the Data Science Minor.

Topics covered Datacenter architectures, the MapReduce programming model, Hadoop, cloud algorithms (PageRank, adsorption, friend recommendation, TF/IDF), web programming basics (servlets, AJAX, Node.js/Express, Bootstrap), higher-level programming (Hive, Pig Latin), ...
Format The format will be two 1.5-hour lectures per week, plus assigned readings. There will be regular homework assignments and a term project, plus a midterm and a final exam.
Prerequisites CIS 120, Introduction to Programming
CIS 160, Discrete Mathematics
Co-requisite: CIS 121, Data Structures
Texts and readings Hadoop: The Definitive Guide, Fourth Edition, by Tom White (O'Reilly) (ISBN 978-1-4919-0163-2; read online for free, or buy for approx. $32)
Data-Intensive Text Processing with MapReduce, by Jimmy Lin and Chris Dyer (Morgan & Claypool) (ISBN 978-1608453429; read online for free, or buy for approx. $40)
Additional materials will be provided as handouts or in the form of light technical papers.

Grading Homework 30%, Term project 30%, Exams 35%, Participation 5%
Policies You are encouraged to discuss your homework assignments with your classmates; however, any code you submit must be your own work. You may not share code with others or copy code from outside sources, except where the assignment specifically allows it. Plagiarism can have serious consequences.
Resources We will be using Piazza for course-related discussions.
Term project In three-person teams, build a small Facebook-like application using Node.js and Amazon's SimpleDB. Based on network analysis, the application should make friend recommendations; it should also visualize the social network.
Facebook award In previous years, Facebook sponsored an award for the best term project. You can learn more about the winners in the Hall of Fame.
Assignments Homework assignments will be available for download; you can submit your solution here. If necessary, you can request an extension.
Lab sessions The TAs may occasionally hold lab sessions to provide additional help with topics related to the class.
Schedule Below is the tentative schedule for the course:

Date Topic Details Reading Remarks
Aug 29 Introduction Course overview    
Aug 31 The Cloud Kinds of clouds; cloud applications
Datacenters; utility computing
Web vs. cloud vs. cluster
Armbrust et al.: A View of Cloud Computing HW0
Sep 05 Concurrency Parallel architectures; consistency models
Synchronization; locking
Deadlock and livelock; solutions
Vogels: Eventually consistent  
Sep 07 Faults and failures Internet basics; TCP and IP
Types of faults; challenges
CAP theorem; eventual consistency
Tseitlin: The Antifragile Organization HW0 due; HW1
Sep 12  
Sep 14 Cloud basics Introduction to Amazon Web Services
EC2 and EBS
Other services
Handout: Getting Started with AWS  
Sep 18
Course selection period ends
Sep 19 Cloud storage Key-value stores; concurrency control
  HW1 MS1 due
Sep 21 MapReduce Core concepts
Programming model
Examples of MapReduce algorithms
Dean and Ghemawat: MapReduce: Simplified Data Processing on Large Clusters
Lin & Dyer, Chapter 2: MapReduce Design
Sep 26 Programming in MapReduce Using keys to group
Different kinds of reduce functions
Shuffle implementations
White, Chapter 7: How MapReduce Works
Lin & Dyer, Chapter 3: MapReduce Algorithm Design
HW1 MS2 due
Sep 28 Hadoop Basics: Data types, drivers, mappers, reducers
HDFS; dataflow in Hadoop
Fault tolerance in Hadoop
White, Chapter 3: HDFS
White, Chapter 6: Developing a MapReduce Application
Oct 03 First midterm exam (covers topics through September 28)    
Oct 05–08
Fall break
Oct 09
Last day to drop
Oct 10 Graph algorithms Iterative MapReduce
Graph representations; SSSP
k-means; Naive Bayes; link analysis
Lin & Dyer, Chapter 5: Graph Algorithms HW2
Oct 12 Random-walk algorithms PageRank
Baluja et al.: Video suggestion and discovery for YouTube  
Oct 17 Iterative processing RDDs
White, Chapter 19  
Oct 19 Web programming Client/server versus P2P
Web protocols: DNS, HTTP, ...
How to build a web server; threads vs events
Berners-Lee: Information Management: A Proposal
Google: SPDY white paper
HW2 due; HW3
Oct 24 Web services, XML, JSON Web services
Data interchange
XML; DTDs; DOM; XML schema; JSON
Oct 26 Node.js Node.js; Express; EJS
Managing state; cookies
Web security
Getting Started with Express HW3MS1 due
Oct 31
No class — Andreas in Shanghai for SOSP
Form project teams
Nov 02 Dynamic content JavaScript
Google Maps
  HW3 MS2 due; HW4
Nov 07 Security Crypto essentials
Web security
Nov 09  
Nov 10
Last day to withdraw
Nov 14 Beyond MapReduce SQL
White, Chapter 12: Hive
Stonebraker et al.: MapReduce and parallel DBMSs: friends or foes?
HW4 MS1 due
Nov 16 Hierarchical data Beyond relations
Pig Latin
White, Chapter 11: Pig  
Nov 21 Peer-to-peer P2P applications; swarming; incentives
Structured and unstructured overlays; Pastry
P2P security
Rodrigues and Druschel: Peer-to-Peer systems HW4 MS2 due
Nov 23
Thanksgiving break — no class
Nov 28 Case study: Bitcoin Distributed ledgers
Satoshi Nakamoto: Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System  
Nov 30 Case study: Facebook Storage at Facebook
Dec 05 Special topics Accountability
Differential privacy
Dec 07 Second midterm exam (covers all topics since the first midterm)    
Dec 12–13
Reading days
Dec 14
Finals begin; project demos
Dec 21
Finals end