6.033: Computer System Engineering

6.033: Computer System Engineering - Spring 2001


General Information

Catalog description // Grading // Collaboration // Class meetings // Reading materials // Staff // TA office hours // Writing practicum


MIT catalog description

Prereq.: 6.004 Prereq: (and, by implication, 6.001 and 6.002)
U (2)

Topics on the engineering of computer software and hardware systems: techniques for controlling complexity; system infrastructure; networks and distributed systems; atomicity and coordination of parallel activities; recovery and reliability; privacy of information; impact of computer systems on society. Case studies of working systems and outside reading in the current literature provide comparisons and contrasts. Two design projects. Enrollment may be limited. 4 Engineering Design Points.

Underground Review (available from MIT IP addressess only): 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000


Grading policy

Grades in 6.033 will be based on the results of two quizzes held during the term, a third quiz to be held during finals week, about a dozen weekly one-page written reports and hands-on projects, at least two written design projects, and your participation in recitation. Your final grade will be weighted as follows:

Final grade = 1/3 Recitation Participation + 1/3 Design Projects + 1/3 Quizzes

Since an important part of 6.033 is discussion of current literature, your recitation participation will influence your grade significantly.

Each week you are expected to complete two assignments. The first is a short reading report, called a "one-pager." It is a short (one page) written report due at the beginning of every Tuesday recitation. The specific topic to be addressed in the report will be given on the previous week's assignment page. In recitation you should be prepared to talk about the whole paper, not just the particular point of the writing assignment. Note that we strictly adhere to the single-side, one-page limit. This forces you to prioritize issues and write concisely.

The second is a hands-on experimental assignment, which you can usually complete at an Athena workstation, sometimes using the Web. The idea is to try and reinforce some of the abstract concepts from the lectures or papers that week by getting your hands dirty using software tools.

The hands-on projects and one-page papers contribute to your recitation participation grade.

The design projects are longer, 8-10 page papers in which you engage in a design exercise or consider a question in more depth than the weekly reading reports allow. Design projects will be handed out about two weeks before they are due. The first design project will be done individually; the second design project will be done in teams. You must hand in both design projects to pass 6.033.



Our policy is simple, based on professional standards: On quizzes you should not collaborate. On all other assignments you are welcome to work with anyone else on ideas and understanding, but your writing should be your own and you should carefully acknowledge all contributions of ideas by others, whether from classmates or from papers you have read.


Class meetings

Lectures will be held on Monday and Wednesday from 2 to 3pm in 34-101.

The registrar's schedule reserves Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 2 p.m. for 6.033. We use some, but not all, of the Friday hours for special events. The most notable special events are two one-hour quizzes, scheduled for Friday March 9 and Friday April 20. Other special events are lectures by staff of the M.I.T. Writing Program, on February 9 and March 16. Sometimes we discover that an interesting visitor can be cajoled into giving us a guest lecture, in which case we will schedule it on Friday. And, finally, if winter gets any worse and we encounter a week of snowed-out lectures, we may try to get back on schedule by using the Friday lecture hour. Reserve the Friday hour in your calendar, even though it isn't going to be used every week; make sure the reservation is clearly marked for the two quiz dates.

   Time   Location   Instructor   TA  
Lecture    MW2 34-101 Kaashoek and Morris
Special lectures    F2 34-101
Recitations: (#1)   TR10   34-303   Garland   Freedman
          (#13)   TR10   34-302   Kaashoek/Morris   Tyan
          (#11)   TR10   36-155   Sollins   Furman
          (#2)   TR11   34-303   Garland   Furman
          (#6)   TR11   34-302   Kaashoek/Morris   Yang
          (#12)   TR11   36-155   Sollins   Tyan
          (#5)    TR12   34-303   Snoeren   Freedman
          (#7)    TR1   34-303   Snoeren   Yang
          (#3)   TR1   36-839   Jackson   Clarke
          (#8)    TR1   34-302   Saltzer   Dabek
          (#10)    TR1   36-153   Druschel   Silahtar
          (#9)    TR2   34-303   Saltzer   Clarke
          (#4)    TR2   36-839   Jackson   Silhtar
          (#14)    TR2   38-136   Druschel   Dabek


Reading materials

There are three things you need to have in order to accomplish the reading assignments in 6.033.

1. Brooks, Frederick P. The Mythical Man-Month, Addison-Wesley, 1995. (ISBN 0-201-00650-2, paperback) These are available at the Coop and at Quantum Books. Last year, Quantum was cheaper.

2. Readings for 6.033, a packet of stuff available from the EECS instrument room for $12. Follow this procedure to get the packet: Pick up a coupon sheet (copies handed out at the first recitation and available from the course secretary), fill it in, and take it together with cash or check to the cashier's office, 10-180. They will give you a receipt, which you can exchange for the reading packet in room 38-501 between 10 AM and 8 PM. A paper from this packet will be assigned for each recitation meeting (see schedule for details). The papers should be read prior to the section meeting.

3. Class notes for 6.033, obtainable from the instrument room with the reading packet at no additional cost. The class notes cover the material presented in lecture. For each lecture we will assign a section of the class notes to accompany the presented material. You will also find the notes helpful in preparing for quizzes.



Frans Kaashoek   NE43-522   3-7149   kaashoek@mit.edu
Robert Morris   NE43-509   3-5983   rtm@amsterdam.lcs.mit.edu
Jerry Saltzer   NE43-513   3-6016   Saltzer@mit.edu
Daniel Jackson   NE43-530   8-8471   dnj@mit.edu
Alex Snoeren   NE43-512   2-2820   snoeren@lcs.mit.edu
Karen Sollins   NE43-502   3-6006   sollins@lcs.mit.edu
Stephen Garland   NE43-508   3-1947   garland@lcs.mit.edu
Peter Druschel   NE43-526   3-6212   druschel@amsterdam.lcs.mit.edu
Teaching assistants
Frank Dabek   NE43-520   8-6277   fdabek@mit.edu
Joshua Furman         jrfurman@mit.edu
Michael Freedman         mfreed@mit.edu
Oguz Silahtar         oguz@mit.edu
Peter Yang   NE43-504   2-3433   pyang@mit.edu
Tina Tyan   NE43-527   3-6015   ttyan@mit.edu
Dwaine Clarke   NE43-410   3-0702   declarke@mit.edu
Course secretary
Neena Lyall   NE43-523   3-6019   lyall@lcs.mit.edu

Course TAs mailing list: 6.033-tas@mit.edu
Use this mailing list to contact all the 6.033 TAs.

Course staff mailing list: 6.033-staff@mit.edu
Use this mailing list to contact all the 6.033 staff members.


TA office hours

All office hours will be held in the lounge in the 5th floor of LCS.

Frank Dabek T 3-4, F 3-4
Joshua Furman W 3-4
Michael Freedman TR 11-12
Oguz Silahtar M 4-5
Peter Yang M 1-2
Tina Tyan M 12-1
Dwaine Clarke W 5-6


Writing Requirement, Phase II

Since 6.033 is one of the few Course VI subjects that asks students to hand in assignments containing complete sentences in the English language, the M.I.T. Writing Program takes a special interest. This interest will take two forms this term:

1. We will forward a copy of your first weekly writing assignment to the Writing Program for evaluation and comment. (These comments usually come back about three weeks later.) In addition, if you ask us to, we will forward to the Writing Program any design project on which your 6.033 grade is a B or better and which contains at least ten pages clearly identified as having been written by you. (The second design project may be a team effort, in which case you may have to volunteer to be the team scribe if you want to take advantage of this option. You should inform your recitation instructor in advance if you wish to pursue this option.) Assuming the evaluator in the Writing Program likes your stuff, you will receive credit for Phase II of the M.I.T. writing requirement. For more information, see the description.

2. The staff of the Writing Program will offer several sections of a 6.033 writing practicum. If you are a student in course 6 and receive a B- or higher in the practicum, you will receive credit for Phase II. Check out the practicum web site for more information.


Questions or comments regarding 6.033? Send e-mail to the TAs at 6.033-tas@mit.edu.
Questions or comments about this web page? Send e-mail to 6.033-webmaster@mit.edu.

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