6.S897: Large-Scale Systems

Instructor: Matei Zaharia
Fall 2015, TR 2:30-4, room 34-301
12 units (3-0-9)
Office hours: Mondays 5-6 in 32G-996

Cloud computing and big data are fundamentally changing the way software is built and delivered. This is a graduate-level seminar class on the latest research in this field. Students will read and discuss several papers per week and do a semester-long project (of their own choice) in groups of 1-3.

Prerequisites: The class is open to PhD students as well as advanced Masters and undergrad students who have taken a grad-level systems course (6.824, 6.830 or 6.814). If unsure about whether you meet the prerequisites, contact the instructor.

Grading: The main evaluation will be around a project that students propose and execute during the course. Apart from that, each student is expected to present one of the papers and to participate in class. The grading rubric will be 70% project, 15% paper presentation and 15% participation.


Email us your answers for summary questions before noon the day of class.

9/10 Introduction Slides
9/15 Background ?
9/17 Guest: Ali Ghodsi
9/22 Storage 1 ?
9/24 Guest: Jeremy Freeman
(HHMI Janelia)
9/29 Storage 2 ?
10/1 Coordination ?
10/6 Storage 3 ?
10/8 Parallel Processing 1 ?
10/13 NO CLASS
10/15 Parallel Processing 2 ?
10/20 Resource Managers ?
10/22 Guest: John Wilkes
10/27 NO CLASS
10/29 Networking ?
11/3 Scheduling Policies ?
11/5 Performance ?
11/12 Structured Data ?
11/17 Advanced Analytics 1 ?
11/19 Advanced Analytics 2 ?
11/24 Security ?
11/26 NO CLASS
12/1 Programming Languages ?
12/3 Serving Systems ?
12/8 New Hardware ?
(Stata G935)


Students will propose and run a semester-long project, ideally in groups of 2-3. It is fine to use your existing research project if it is relevant to the course and the instructor approves. You will present the project at the end of the course and write a 10-12 page report.

Rough timeline for the project:

Form groups, run idea by MateiOctober 2
Proposal (1-2 pages)October 9
Mid-term reviewNovember 10
Poster sessionDecember 10
Final report (10-12 pages)December 15

Paper Presentations

Each student will be assigned a paper to present during the class. You should prepare a 15-20 minute presentation on the paper. In your presentation, cover each of the following:

Adapted from a template by Andreas Viklund. Photo by Hector Garcia-Molina.