NDAK15006U Advanced Computer Systems (ACS)

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Computer Science


The overall purpose of this course is to offer students an understanding of techniques in computer systems with a focus on correctness and adherence to system properties, such as modularity and atomicity, while at the same time achieving high performance. The course exposes students to various system mechanisms, especially from distributed systems, database systems, and network systems. 

The course will explore the following aspects:

  • System abstractions and design principles
  • Modularity with clients and services
  • Performance
  • Atomicity and transactions
  • Concurrency control and recovery
  • Reliability, fault-tolerance, and redundancy
  • Distributed protocols for replication
  • Large-scale data processing
Learning Outcome

Knowledge to

  • Describe the design of transactional and distributed systems, including techniques for modularity, performance, and fault tolerance.
  • Explain how to employ strong modularity through a client-service abstraction as a paradigm to structure computer systems, while hiding the complexity of implementation from clients.
  • Explain techniques for large-scale data processing.    


Skills to

  • Implement systems that include mechanisms for modularity, atomicity, and fault tolerance.
  • Structure and conduct experiments to evaluate a system's performance.


Competences to

  • Discuss design alternatives for a modular computer system, identifying desired system properties as well as describing mechanisms for improving performance while arguing for their correctness.
  • Analyse protocols for concurrency control and recovery, as well as for distribution and replication.
  • Apply the principles of large-scale data processing to analyse concrete information-processing problems.


See Absalon when the course is set up.

- Basic principles of operating systems and/or databases.
- Working knowledge of a standard programming language (Java, C#, etc), including concurrency and communication mechanisms.
- Notions of UNIX / shell scripting are helpful, but not required.
- Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
Lectures and exercise sessions.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Theory exercises
  • 70
  • Project work
  • 90
  • Exam
  • 4
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester

Written feedback is provided as comments to assignment solutions in Absalon.
Continuous feedback is provided during exercise classes, where a time window of each class is allocated for Q&A with teaching assistants.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
On-site written exam, 4 hours under invigilation
Type of assessment details
The on-site written exam is an ITX exam.
See important information about ITX-exams at Study Information, menu point: Exams -> Exam types and rules -> Written on-site exams (ITX)
Exam registration requirements

4-6 take home-assignments, marked as pass/fail. To qualify for the exam the assignments must be passed.

All aids allowed

This includes books, notes but no access to the internet.

The University will make computers available to students at the ITX-exam.

Students are not permitted to bring digital aids like computers, tablets, calculators, mobile phones etc.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship

If a student is not qualified for the exam, qualification can be achieved by approval of equivalent assignments submitted no later than 3 weeks before the re-exam.

The re-exam is a 4 hours written exam under invigilation. 

If 10 or fewer students are registered, then the re-exam will be held as an oral examination of 25 minutes without preparation.



Criteria for exam assesment

See Learning Outcome.