NDAK15006U CHANGED: Advanced Computer Systems (ACS)

Volume 2018/2019

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


  • 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 complexity of implementation from clients.
  • Explain techniques for large-scale data processing.    



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



  • 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.
  • Analyze protocols for concurrency control and recovery, as well as for distribution and replication.
  • Apply principles of large-scale data processing to analyze concrete information-processing problems.


See Absalon when the course is set up.

Basic principles of operating systems and/or databases.
Working knowledge of Java, including concurrency and communication mechanisms.
Notions of UNIX / shell scripting are helpful, but not required.
Lectures and exercise sessions.
This course was formerly known as "Principles of Computer Systems Design".
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 24
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Project work
  • 90
  • Theory exercises
  • 50
  • 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
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
CHANGED in 2018/2019
Exam registration requirements

4-6 take home assignments, marked as pass / fail, must be passed to participate in the final exam.

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship

If a student is not qualified then qualification can be achieved by approval of equivalent assignments with hand-in no later than 2 weeks before the re-exam.

If 10 or fewer students are registered, then the re-exam may be held as an oral examination of 25 minutes without preparation. Otherwise, the re-exam will take the same format of the ordinary exam of a written exam of 4 hours under invigilation.   



Criteria for exam assesment

See Learning Outcome.