CSC6290: Data Communications and Computer Networks (Fall 2008)

Lectures  |  Homeworks  |  Project  |   Exam  |  Related resources 
Course mailing list: general, web section only     

Instructor: Dr. Hongwei Zhang
                  hzhang AT
                  +1 313 577 0731
Class timings: MW 1:20pm-2:40pm in State Hall 313
Office hours: MW 4:30pm-5:30pm in 454 State Hall, or by appointment
Class webpage:
Teaching Assistant: Yuan Gan (

TA Office hours: by appointment

Overview (flyer)  

This course is designed for graduate students who are interested in the fundamental design and analytical techniques for computer networking. We will focus on three basic building blocks of networking: multiplexing, switching, and routing. We will systematically develop the viewpoint that computer networking is about efficient resource sharing, and we will examine the basic engineering and scientific questions in network system design, analysis, and implementation. Topics include network architecture, network analysis from deterministic models (e.g., as used in IntServ/RSVP) and stochastic models (e.g., the effective bandwidth approach), blocking systems (e.g., cellular and optical networks), congestion control algorithms (e.g., TCP), queueing in packet switches, switching architectures, packet processing (e.g., IP route lookup and packet classification), virtual path routing (e.g., as in MPLS), and routing for delay-constrained traffic (e.g., as in VoIP).

In short, the objectives of this course is to help students develop deep insight into computer networking and to help students appreciate the basic techniques for designing and analyzing networked systems.


Basic knowledge of computer networks (e.g., materials covered in CSC4992 or equivalent), elementary probability theory and statistics. Or consent of instructor.


[R0] Anurag Kumar, D. Manjunath, Joy Kuri, Communication Networking: An Analytical Approach, Morgan Kaufmann, 2004. ISBN: 0124287514.

Recommended references:
[R1] Anurag Kumar, D. Manjunath, Joy Kuri, Wireless Networking, Morgan Kaufmann, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-12-374254-4.
[R2] Larry Peterson and Bruce Davie, Computer Networks: A Systems Approach (4th edition), Morgan Kaufmann, ISBN: 0123705487.
[R3] Jim Kurose and Keith Ross, Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach Featuring the Internet (4th edition), Addison-Wesley, ISBN: 0321497708.
[R4] Srinivsan Keshav and S. Keshav, An Engineering Approach to Computer Networking: ATM Networks, the Internet, and the Telephone Network (1st edition), Addison-Wesley, ISBN: 0201634422.
[R5] Mohamed G. Gouda, Elements of Network Protocol Design (1st edition), John Wiley & Sons, ISBN: 0471197440.
[R6] Robert G. Gallager, Discrete Stochastic Processes, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996. ISBN: 0792395832.
[R7] Henry Stark, John W. Woods, Probability, Random Processes, and Estimation Theory for Engineers, 2nd edition, Prentice Hall, 1994. ISBN: 0137287917.
[R6] Sheldon M. Ross, Introduction to Probability Models, 9th edition, Academic Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780125980623.

Flowchart of topics


Additional reading: Leonard Kleinrock's vision | Leonard Kleinrock's Keynote speech at INFOCOM'06 
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Homework #0 is due by Oct. 1, 2008. (solution)
Homework #1 is due by Oct. 8, 2008.   (solution)
Homework #2 is due by Oct. 20, 2008.   (solution)
Homework #3 is due by Nov. 17, 2008.    (solution)


Survey the design and analysis of selected protocols/systems in the following fields: 
Evaluation criteria:
Your performance in project will be evaluated based on the following metrics:
Some data:
Current assignment/selection of projects in class


Related resources


Lecture: Attendance is required. Advance notice and permission are required if students cannot attend certain lectures due to hard constraints.

Homework: Homework assignments will be designed to stimulate independent thinking among the students. They will be due at the beginning of class, usually a week after they are given.  Homework assignments will not be accepted after the due date. An exception to this rule is that you give in advance a strong and convincing reason.

Exams will be scheduled in advance. Unless prior arrangements are made, a grade of zero will be recorded for missed exams.

Grading: The tentative grade weighting for the semester will be:
Class participation: 10% 
Homework assignments: 30% 
Exam: 30%
Project: 30% 
A:  93-100
A-: 90-92
B+: 85-89
B:   80-84
B-:  75-79
C+: 70-74
C:   65-69
C-:  60-64
F:    0-60


I expect you to carefully read all material handed out in class. I also expect you to read the book according to the reading assignments announced in class. You are encouraged to discuss the material presented in class with other students, but definitely do not collaborate with anyone in solving the homework problems. The Wayne State University Student Code of Conduct applies. Feel free to discuss our expectations and grading criteria with the grader or me during the semester.