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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

COMP3211 Distributed Systems

10 creditsClass Size: 250

Module manager: Dr Karim Djemame

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21



Module replaces

COMP3900 Distributed Systems

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Using a standard web browser, a user can access information stored on Web servers situated anywhere on the globe. This gives the illusion that all this information is situated locally on the user's computer. In reality, the Web represents a huge distributed system that appears as a single resource to the user available at the click of a button. This module presents the main characteristics of distributed systems and looks at some of the challenges that are faced by designers and implementers of such systems. It investigates how sophisticated multi-tier architectures can be supported, and examines how this is achieved using distributed object technology, Web services and cloud computing.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
• identify the paradigms that determine the requirements, capabilities and performance of distributed systems;
• design a high-level framework of a distributed system based on the Internet architecture / advanced architectures;
• use a range of middleware tools to implement a distributed design;
• reason about the significance of the new directions that distributed systems are taking

Learning outcomes
On completion of the year/programme students should have provided evidence of being able to:
-understand and demonstrate coherent and detailed subject knowledge and professional competencies some of which will be informed by recent research/scholarship in the discipline;
-deploy accurately standard techniques of analysis and enquiry within the discipline;
-demonstrate a conceptual understanding which enables the development and sustaining of an argument;
-describe and comment on particular aspects of recent research and/or scholarship;
-appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity and limitations of knowledge in the discipline;
-make appropriate use of scholarly reviews and primary sources;
-apply their knowledge and understanding in order to initiate and carry out an extended piece of work or project;


- Definitions of distributed systems - Applications challenges - Systems challenges - The client-server model - Role of Middleware - The N-tier model - Message oriented communication - Remote database access - Implementation of middleware using a distributed object model - Remote method invocation technologies
- Service Oriented Architectures - Web services, SOAP and REST - Naming, directory, and discovery services
- Synchronisation in distributed systems
- Fault tolerance and Quality of Service - Transactions - Emerging distributed systems - Grid computing - Cloud computing, virtualized infrastructures and Big Data - Edge computing

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment12.002.00
Private study hours65.00
Total Contact hours35.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Coursework and labs.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course MCQMCQ Test (Minerva)10.00
In-course AssessmentProgramming Exercise (Gradescope)20.00
In-course MCQMCQ Test (Minerva)10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment48 hr 00 mins60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

This module will be reassessed by an online time-constrained assessment.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 18/09/2020 08:32:04


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