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Distributed Systems
Computer Laboratory > Course material 2002-03 > Distributed Systems

Distributed Systems

Principal lecturer: Dr Jean Bacon (
Taken by: Part II, Part II (General), Diploma

Past exam questions

Here are the postscript and pdf versions of the course notes.

Some of the chapters of "Operating Systems, Concurrent and Distributed Software Design" by Jean Bacon and Tim Harris, Addison Wesley 2003, are relevant to this course.

ch7 Fundamentals of distributed systems
ch16 Distributed IPC (but not in detail)
ch22 Distributed transactions
ch23 Distributed algorithms
ch28 The World-Wide Web
ch29 Middleware

Each chapter has exercises. There is a web-browsable Instructor's Guide which is normally for teachers, password-protected, via Addison Wesley. It is available - here - *for local use only*. Please respect this.
The text of chapters 28 and 29 are here: 28-web.DOC, 29-mid.DOC. These are .DOC files without figures and before proof-reading.

If you have access to "Concurrent Systems" Edition 2 by Jean Bacon, the following chapters are relevant:

ch5 Fundamentals of distributed systems (much the same as in Operating Systems)
ch15 Distributed IPC (updated for OS - detail not required)
ch21 Distributed transactions (much the same as in OS)
ch22 Distributed algorithms (much the same as in OS)
ch26 Middleware (significantly updated for OS. CORBA hasn't changed much) is an online magazine of the IEEE Computer Society. Click on the topic areas for tutorial and other information on those subjects.

At SOSP17, Dec 99, Jerome Saltzer of MIT gave a keynote address which included some spectacular failures of large-scale system design. Here is the pdf: Saltzerthumbnails.pdf.