Architecture of Distributed Systems (2IMN10)

Academic year 2019/2020, Semester A, Quarter 1

See also CANVAS for information. Eventually, the information on this page will migrate to CANVAS. "For the time being, in case of inconsistencies THIS PAGE will be decisive.

General information

Target audience:
Business Information Systems (Graduate School)   Master's degree program (year 1)   Optional
Computer Science & Engineering (Graduate School)   Master's degree program (year 1)   Optional
Cyber Physical Systems (Graduate School)   Master's degree program (year 1)   Optional
EIT ICT labs Embedded Systems (Graduate School)   Master's degree program (year 2)   Optional
Embedded Networking (Graduate School)   Master's degree program (year 1)   Mandatory
Embedded Software (Graduate School)   Master's degree program (year 1)   Optional
Embedded Systems (Graduate School)   Master's degree program (year 1)   Mandatory
Software Science (Graduate School)   Master's degree program (year 1)   Optional
System Science (Graduate School)   Master's degree program (year 1)   Mandatory
Web Science (Graduate School)   Master's degree program (year 1)   Optional
Dr. R.H. Mak, MF. 6.067, tel. 3719, (expertise group SAN,
Prior knowledge:
2IP25 - Software engineering (recommended)


This page will be updated regularly during the lecturing season. The table below contains all updates. The most recent ones are indicated in color.

Answers to the exam of January 30, 2020 available.
Answers to the exam of November 7, 2019 available.
Slides from last year on scalability replaced by this year's slides.
Slides from last year on replication replaced by this year's slides.
Slides from last year on replication and scalability available.
Will be updated in due time.
Essay assignment available. Deadline Friday, October 25 at Midnight.
Slides lecture on Blockchains and Consensus available.
Slides lecture on Naming available.
Slides lecture on Quality Attributes available.
Slides with answers to HWA1 available.
Homework Assignment 2 available.
No lecture on Friday, September 27 .
Slides lecture on Interaction styles available.
Slides lecture on Architectural styles available.
Slides Introduction lecture on architecture modified.
Slide on ISO/IEC 25010 added. Occasional, minor layout modification.
Homework Assignment 1 available.
Deadline: Friday, Sept 20, 8:45 (at start of the lecture)
Slides Introduction lecture on architecture available.
Slides introduction lecture on distributed systems available.
Course outline slides available.
Last change: Feb 13 2020, 9:37


Course material:
M. van Steen and A.S. Tanenbaum, Distributed Systems, 3rd ed.,, 2017.
Distributed systems

A free copy of the above book should be obtainable from the web-site. In case you already own a copy of the previous edition of this book

Andrew S. Tanenbaum; Maarten Van Steen (second edition)
Distributed systems Principles and Paradigms ,
Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007.

that will suffice as well, but downloading the third edition is strongly recommended. Indications of material from the book covered in the lectures will be given for the 3rd edition only.

Powerpoint presentations in pdf-format (and as slideshow if relevant)


At the end of the quart, on Thursday, November 7, 2019 (09:00 - 12:00) there will be a written exam.
Furthermore, you will have to make a series of homework assignments and write an essay on a research paper.
Homework assignments and the essay may be done in groups of two/three (tba) students, to be registered in CANVAS.
Grades for homework and essay obtained in previous academic years are null and void.

Your final grade will be based on

Moreover, your score for each part has to be at least 4.0.

For the written exam part there will be a re-exam on Thursday, January 30, 2020 (18:00 - 21:00 !!!).
For the essay and homework there will be no second opportunity offered.
The results obtained for essay and homework can be combined with either the regular written exam or the re-exam.
If you take both the regular written exam and the re-exam, the highest score will count.

Answers to this year's exams

For the answers to the exam of November 7, 2019 see here.

For the answers to the exam of January 30, 2020 see here.


For this course you will be assigned obligatory homework. Your answers should be written in English and should be handed in as a pdf-file via CANVAS.
Ensure that your work is registered for all members of your group.
Furthermore, ensure that you identify your work appropriately, i.e., choose a traceable filename, e.g., "2IMN10_HW<nmb>_<author1>_<author2>_<author3>.pdf".
In addition the pdf-file itself should contain a title page with your names and student identity numbers.

Beware, in the pdf-versions the hyperlinks may not work. In that case, you have to type them yourselves in your web-browser.
Submission and deadlines will be arranged via CANVAS.

Anwers to exercises:


For the final assignment of the course, the essay (30% of the final grade), you must choose one out of the following list of topics:

  1. Highly available data stores
  2. Architecture of massive multiplayer online games
  3. Scalability of Google technologies
  4. Multicast and group communication
  5. Consensus and blockchains
Students that follow this course as a reprise of course (2IMN10) in 2018-2019 and that handed in an essay then, MUST CHOOSE A DIFFERENT TOPIC this year. This holds for ALL students of a group. If this presents a problem consult the responsible lecturer.
The outcome of the assignment is a research paper of at most 10 pages (single column, fontsize 11pt, and not counting larger diagrams or cover page), which should start with a half page abstract. Using double column format, fontsize 11pt, is also ok, but then the essay should be at most 6 pages. (see e.g. IEEEtran template).
See the schedule for the deadline for handing in your essay.

In view of prior experience, mind the guidelines below. In particular, pay attention to the remarks concerning copying literature: --- copying without proper indication about what is copied will be considered fraud ---

Mind the following aspects: Since the essay is handed out before the end of the lecture series, it might be convenient to browse the slides of forthcoming lectures to get an idea of how to address certain concerns in your essay (e.g. ). For this purpose, these slides will be made available in advance, although updates may become available later.

Some previous exams with solutions

Beware that answers to questions, especially in the older exams, contain references to slides of slide sets that have been modified since. So the answer you are looking for may, in fact, not be on the indicated slide. With a little additional search effort, however, you should be able to find a corresponding slide in the current slide sets.



Besides the mandatory book

the following books are recommended

Remarks regarding this page can be sent to R.H. Mak