6.892 Computer Networks

Professor Hari Balakrishnan

MW 11-12.30 in 4-153


6.892 is a graduate-level class (H 3-0-9) whose goals are:

  1. To understand the state-of-the-art in network protocols, architectures and applications.
  2. To understand how networking research is done.
  3. To investigate novel ideas in the area via semester-long research projects.
The past few years have seen a remarkable growth in the global network infrastructure. The Internet has grown from a research curiosity to something we all take for granted, beginning to become as essential as the ubiquitous telephone and utility networks. It has been able to withstand rapid growth fairly well and its core protocols have been robust enough to accomodate applications that were unforeseen by the original Internet designers, such as the World Wide Web.

How does this global network infrastructure work and what are the design principles on which it is based? How do we make it work better in today's world? How do we ensure that it will work well in the future in the face of rapidly growing scale and heterogeneity? And how should Internet applications be written, so they can obtain the best possible performance both for themselves and for others using the infrastructure? These are some issues that we will grapple with in this course. We will emphasize the design, implementation, analysis, and evaluation of large-scale networked systems.

Topics include design philosophies, unicast and multicast routing, congestion control, network quality of service, wireless and mobile systems, Web protocols and caching, adaptive applications, reliable multicast, programmable networks, network security, device networks, and performance. Material for the course will be drawn from research papers, industry white papers, and Internet RFCs.