CSE 455 / CIS 555: Internet and Web Systems

Spring 2006

Location: Towne 321, Tuesday/Thursday 10:30AM - 12:00PM


Zachary Ives, zives@cis.upenn.edu, (215) 746-2789

Location:  576 Levine Hall N (a.k.a. GRW building)

Office hours: Tuesdays, 4:30-5:30PM, or by arrangement

Teaching Assistant

Nick Taylor, netaylor@seas.upenn.edu

Location:  561 Levine Hall N

Office hours: Mondays, 12:30-1:30, or by arrangement

Course Objectives

This course focuses on the issues encountered in building Internet and web systems: scalability, interoperability (of data and code), atomicity and consistency models, replication, and location of resources, services, and data.

We will examine how XML standards enable information exchange; how web services support cross-platform interoperability (and what their limitations are); how to do proxy caching, replication and Akamai-like content distribution; and how application servers provide transaction support in distributed environments. We will study techniques for locating machines, resources, and data (including directory systems, information retrieval indexing and ranking, web search, and publish/subscribe systems); we'll discuss collaborative filtering and mining the Web for patterns; we'll investigate how different architectures support scalability (and the issues they face). We'll also examine the ideas that have been proposed for tomorrow's Web, including the "Semantic Web," and see some of the challenges, research directions, and potential pitfalls.

An important goal of the course is not simply to discuss issues and solutions, but to provide hands-on experience with a substantial implementation project. This semester's project will be a peer-to-peer information-sharing and querying system based on a web services architecture.



We will use the following


CSE 380 (Operating Systems) or equivalent (or CIS 505 or equivalent); suggested CSE 330 (Database Management Systems), CIS 550, or equivalent; knowledge of Java programming required. This course will require a significant amount of programming and will require the ability to work with your classmates in teams.


The format will be two one-and-a-half-hour lectures a week, plus assigned readings from handouts.  There will be regular homework assignments and a substantial implementation project with experimental validation and a report, plus a midterm and a final exam.


Three homework assignments, midterm, and final exam.  Breakdown: homework 21%, midterm 14%, final 20%, project 40%, participation/intangibles 5%.

Other Resources

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Last revised: December 15, 2005