CIS 800: PhD Special Topic: Old and New Research in Networked Systems

Fall 2018

Instructor: Vincent Liu
Room: Levine 512
Time: Tuesday and Thursday 3:00-4:30 PM
Discussions: Piazza
Office hours: By appointment

Course Description

This course explore a mix of both classic and recent work in Networks and systems. Every Thursday, we will explore a "Test of Time" or "Hall of Fame" award paper. These papers represent publications that have proven themselves over the course of at least a decade to be the most influential in their field. To augment this history lesson, every Tuesday, we will read a recent paper to get a sense of where research is going in the future.

NSDI Test of Time
SIGCOMM Test of Time
SIGOPS Hall of Fame

NSDI 2018
NSDI 2017

This course satisfies a PhD seminar requirement for PhD students.


This class is geared toward PhD students or other 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 1-2 papers, write a brief review for them, and come to class prepared for discussion. Additionally, one student will be tasked with leading discussion for the day.

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


Reading and participation: 50% Project: 50%


Date Discussion Leader Reading List
Aug. 28 Vincent Introduction [PPT]
Optional: S. Keshav, How to read a paper
Aug. 30 Vincent A Scalable, Commodity Data Center Network Architecture [PPT]
Mohammad Al-Fares, Alexander Loukissas, and Amin Vahdat
Paper selection due
Sep. 4 Vincent Azure Accelerated Networking: SmartNICs in the Public Cloud [PPT]
Daniel Firestone et. al.
Sep. 6 Saeed Pip: Detecting the Unexpected in Distributed Systems
Patrick Reynolds, Charles Killian, Janet L. Wiener, Jeffrey C. Mogul, Mehul A. Shah, and Amin Vahdat
Sep. 11 Saeed Exploiting a Natural Network Effect for Scalable, Fine-grained Clock Synchronization
Yilong Geng, Shiyu Liu, Zi Yin, Ashish Naik, Balaji Prabhakar, Mendel Rosenblum, and Amin Vahdat
Project proposals due
Sep. 13 Isaac A first-principles approach to understanding the Internet's Router-level Topology
Lun Li, David Alderson, Walter Willinger, and John Doyle
Sep. 18 Nicolas An analysis of BGP convergence properties
Timothy G. Griffin and Gordon Wilfong
Sep. 20 Nicolas A General Approach to Network Configuration Verification
Ryan Beckett, Aarti Gupta, Ratul Mahajan, and David Walker
Sep. 25 Lei Stateless Datacenter Load-balancing with Beamer
Vladimir Olteanu, Alexandru Agache, Andrei Voinescu, and Costin Raiciu
Sep. 27 Nofel Ethane: Taking control of the Enterprise
Mart├Čn Casado, Michael J. Freedman, Justin Pettit, Jianying Luo, Nick McKeown, and Scott Shenker
Oct. 2 TBD TBD
Oct. 4 No Class (Fall Break)
Oct. 9 No Class (Instructor Away)
Oct. 11 Lei Inferring Internet Denial-of-Service Activity
David Moore, Geoffrey M. Voelker, and Stefan Savage
Oct. 16 Charlie Flowtune: Flowlet Control for Datacenter Networks
Jonathan Perry, Hari Balakrishnan, and Devavrat Shah
Project midterm report due
Oct. 18 Isaac B4 and After: Managing Hierarchy, Partitioning, and Asymmetry for Availability and Scale in Google's Software-Defined WAN
Chi-Yao Hong et. al.
Oct. 23 Please attend the department colloquium!
Oct. 25 No Class (Instructor Away)
Oct. 30 Saeed TBD
Nov. 1 Haoxian Design and Implementation of a Routing Control Platform
Matthew Caesar, Donald Caldwell, Nick Feamster, Jennifer Rexford, Aman Shaikh, and Jacobus van der Merwe
Nov. 6 Lichang Synchronized Network Snapshots
Nofel Yaseen, John Sonchack, Vincent Liu
Nov. 8 Lichang End-to-end Arguments in System Design
J.H. Saltzer, D.P. Reed, and D.D. Clark
Nov. 13 Haoxian p4v: Practical Verification for Programmable Data Planes
Jed Liu, William Hallahan, Cole Schlesinger, Milad Sharif, Jeongkeun Lee, Robert Soulé, Han Wang, Cǎlin Caşcaval, Nick McKeown, and Nate Foster
Nov. 15 Charlie The ALOHA System
Norman Abramson
Nov. 20 Nofel mOS: A Reusable Networking Stack for Flow Monitoring Middleboxes
Muhammad Asim Jamshed, YoungGyoun Moon, Donghwi Kim, Dongsu Han, and KyoungSoo Park
Nov. 22 No Class (Thanksgiving Break)
Nov. 27 TBD TBD
Nov. 29 TBD TBD
Dec. 4 Project Presentations
Project reports due
Dec. 6 Project Presentations