Computer Networks

General Information:

  • Location: Engineering 2, Room 506 (alternate locations: Baskin Engineering 169 on October 2, Baskin Engineering 330 on October 16 and November 6.)
  • Time: Tue and Thu 2-3:45
  • Instructor: Katia Obraczka
  • TA: Kerry Veenstra
    • E-mail:

Class Description:

This class provides a deep understanding of computer network architectures and their protocols using the Internet (TCP/IP) as the main case study. It focuses on the design and evaluation of network protocols and is based mostly on research papers. The class is the first in a series of more advanced networking classes and serves as pre-requisite to them. The class requires extensive reading of research papers. A class project to be presented at the end of the quarter allows students to gain hands-on experience with the material covered in the course.


Grades will account for:

  • Homework assignments: 10%
  • Reading reports: 10%
  • Exam: 40%
  • Project: 40%

Grades of C and below will be assigned to students who do not perform satisfactorily. You should not assume that you can receive a B simply because this is a graduate class.


While no textbook is required, a list of useful references is provided below.

  • Computer Networks, A Systems Approach, Peterson and Davie.
  • Computer Networking: A Top Down Approach, Kurose and Ross.
  • Computer Networks, A. Tanenbaum.

Student Responsibilities:

Students enrolled in this class are agreeing to the following:

  • All work turned in as homework assignments, reading reports, project, and exams MUST be individual. If any work claimed by a student to be his or her own is found to be someonelse's work and/or shared with other students, that will be considered a violation of academic integrity and will be handled accordingly.
  • Students are responsible for reading the papers assigned for each topic. All papers must be read in detail even though not all details will be covered in class.
  • Students are also responsible for checking the class web page frequently for updates, schedule changes, etc.
  • The course pre-requisite is CMPE 150 or equivalent. if there are any questions about the required background, the student should talk to the instructor.
  • Programming profficiency is assumed for students to be able to complete the class project. 

Academic Integrity:

In this course we encourage students to get involved in discussions about the class material in- and outside the classroom. However, with the exception of the class project (which may be assigned to a team of 2 students upon instructor's approval), all work submitted for the class is to be done individually. Some examples of what is not allowed by the University's code of conduct include: copying all or part of someone else's work (by hand or by looking at others' files, either secretly or if shown), and submitting it as your own; giving another student in the class a copy of your assignment solution. If there are any questions about what is allowed, the student should discuss them with the instructor.

Students should be familiar with the University Academic Intergity Policies, violations of which will not be tolerated. Students who violate University standards of academic integrity are subject to disciplinary sanctions, including failure in the course accompanied by a report which will be part of the student's file, and suspension from the University. If there are any questions about the UCSC Academic Integrity policies, the student should discuss them with the instructor.


Student must complete a project for the class. While project ideas will be posted on the class Web page, students are encouraged to propose their own project topics to be evaluated/approved by the instructor. Projects are individual; however, depending on the complexity of their complexity, projects can involve teams of up to 2 students. 

Students are required to submit a project proposal which will contain the following information: project title; brief motivation and description of related work; proposed approach; experimental methodology; demo plan and/or expected results.

Project deliverables include:project report, source code, project presentation/demo.

See Sample Project Ideas.

Reading Assignments:

Each student is expected to write one-page report that contains a brief summary of each paper before it is covered in class. Summaries are due before the start of the class when the paper will be covered. Summaries are to be submitted as an e-mail attachment (plain text or pdf) to .

The summary of each paper should include brief answers to the following questions: (1) what is the problem the authors are trying to solve? (2) why is the problem interesting, relevant, and/or important? (3) what other approaches or solutions existed at the time that this work was done? (4) how did the proposed approach contribute to the state-of-the-art, i.e., why existing approaches were not adequate? (5) what is the proposed approach and how does it compare to earlier approaches, in other words, what are the contributions of the proposed approach? (6) what are the main strengths and weaknesses of the paper/proposed approach?

The total report should not exceed one page.

Having a copy of your reports handy in class can help guide your participation.


Instructors and Assistants