CIS 700-5: The Design and Implementation of Cloud Networks

Spring 2017

NOTE: Class will be held in the DSL Conference Room, NOT the room listed in Penn InTouch

Instructor: Vincent Liu
Room: Distributed Systems Laboratory (DSL) Conference Room
Time: Monday and Wednesday 1:30-3:00 PM
Discussions: Piazza
Office hours: Wednesday 3-4 PM (470 Levine North) or by appointment

Course Description

Much of today's computing occurs in and around data centers. Large, specialized networks connect each data center's servers together and also connect those servers to the outside world. This graduate seminar course will explore the design and implementation of these massive network deployments---inside data centers, between data centers, and in the Internet.

A crucial part of the exploration is understanding how large cloud networks are built today by companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. Equally important is where recent research is taking them. This seminar will cover topics such as network architecture, congestion control, troubleshooting, OS/application design, and software-defined networking.

This course satisfies a PhD seminar requirement for PhD students.


This class is geared toward PhD students or Masters students that are interested in ongoing research. General background in computer systems and networking is preferred.


The class will meet for 1.5 hours twice per week. The format is largely discussion based. Every week, students will be expected to read a couple papers and come to class prepared to discuss them. All students will need to submit an interesting thought about the readings before class. Additionally, one student will be tasked with leading discussion for the day. At the end of every class, I will give a brief lecture to provide context for the next discussion topic.

In addition to the reading and discussions, students will, in groups of 2-3, engage in a research project of their choosing. The hope is that the project will bridge cloud networking and students' existing research/interests. More concretely, students will be expected to write a proposal for their chosen research project, and produce a presentation and written report of their results at the end of the semester.


Reading and participation: 50% Project: 50%


The schedule is still in flux. Please check back every week!
Date Topic Discussion Leader Reading List
Jan. 11 Introduction [PPT] Vincent
Jan. 16 No Class (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)
Jan. 18 Data Center Architectures [PPT] Vincent
Jan. 23 Network Topologies [PPT] Vincent
Jan. 25 Data Center Traffic Patterns Josh Fried
Jan. 30 Optical/Wireless Networks Sam Weinberg
Feb. 1 Congestion Control Ji Yong Cho
Feb. 6 No Class (Google Summit)
Feb. 8 No Class (Google Summit)
Project proposals/plan due.
Feb. 13 Traffic Balancing Sam Weinberg
Feb. 15 Load Balancing Qizhen Zhang
Feb. 20 VMs and Containers Mihir Pattani
Feb. 22 Kernel Bypass Henri Maxime Demoulin
Feb. 27 Multitenant Networking Henri Maxime Demoulin
Mar. 1 Scheduling Saeed Abedi
Mar. 6 No Class (Spring Break)
Mar. 8 No Class (Spring Break)
Mar. 13 Software-defined Networking (SDN) Mihir Pattani
Mar. 15 Wide-area SDN Ji Yong Cho
Mar. 20 Programmable switches Mikael Mantis
Mar. 22 Network Function Virtualization (NFV) Akshay Sriraman
Mar. 27 No Class (NSDI)
Mar. 29 No Class (NSDI)
Apr. 3 Cloud Applications Qizhen Zhang TBD
Apr. 10 TBD Saeed Abedi TBD
Apr. 12 Monitoring and Diagnostics TBD TBD
Apr. 17 Network Bugs TBD TBD
Apr. 19 Cloud Security TBD TBD
Apr. 24 Project Presentations
Apr. 26 Project Presentations