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Computer Science / Electrical Engineering 461: Computer Networks

Instructors: Eric Hoffman and Neil Spring


Office: Sieg 226D, Wednesday 12-1:00 (Neil) Thursday 1-2:00 (Eric)

TA: Adam MacBeth

TA Office Hours: Sieg 226B, Tuesday 9-10:00 AM.

Course Web:

Mailing List: Send mail to with the contents subscribe cse461 as soon as possible.

Textbook: An Engineering Approach to Computer Networking, by Srinivsan Keshav

Course Description: This course covers the basics of networking, ranging from the electrical signals on wires to high level transport protocols with congestion control. We will cover framing, error correction, switching fabrics, queuing, addressing, packet and circuit switching, forwarding, routing, collision detection, ethernet, IP, distance vector and link state routing, signalling, differential services, transport protocols, congestion control, TCP mechanisms, unreliable transports, caching, remote procedure call, security and authentication, and multicast communication.

Homework: There will be four homeworks, each worth 5% of your grade. Homeworks will be due at the end of class on:

Friday, October 8
Friday, October 15
Friday, November 12
Wednesday, November 24

Project: Your project will add forwarding, routing, transport, and congestion control to a virtual network.

There are four components to the project, each worth 10% of your grade. The project assignments must be turned in before the class meets. Don't put them off until the last minute: they get progressively harder.

The goal of these projects is for you to understand the complexity behind some of the fundamental networking algorithms. You will work in pairs, so find a partner whose strengths complement yours.

Project deadlines are:

Friday, October 22
Friday, November 5
Friday, November 19
Wednesday, December 8

Midterm: There will be one midterm, Friday, October 29. It will be held in class, and is worth 15% of your grade.

Final: There will also be a comprehensive final, worth 25% of your grade. (around 5% on the first half of the quarter, 20% on the rest) The final will be held at 2:30-4:20 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15, 1999.

Grading Summary:

4 Project Assigments 40%
Final 25%
4 Homeworks 20%
Midterm 15%

Late Policy: For homeworks, you may turn in the homework on the monday following the homework due date, only once during the quarter. For example, if you turn in your first homework late, no further late homeworks will be accepted. Homework will be due at the end of class. Once we leave, it's late.

For project assignments, 20% of your credit will be reduced per day it is late. Plan ahead.

Cheating Policy: The most authoritative description of the department's cheating policy seems to be kept at: We believe in the Gilligan's Island / E.R. rule. Please read Professor Ruzzo's description carefully if in doubt.

We also agree with Professor Diorio's description at

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Neil T Spring