ECE 453/553 -- Computer Networks --- Spring 2020

Instructor: Micah Beck
Office: Min Kao 433
Office Hours: TBA

TA: Michael Price

Course Curriculum (draft)


We will use Version 6.1 of this book available for free download from

Notes on lectures missed due to Coronavirus

Friday, March 13 lecture on the Domain Name Service (DNS)


Surging Traffic Is Slowing Down Our Internet

With people going online more in the pandemic, internet traffic has exploded. That's taking a toll on our download speeds and video quality.

Disney+ Joins Netflix, Apple, Amazon And YouTube In Throttling Streaming Quality During Coronavirus Outbreak

Disney+ has announced that it is going to be joining the other major video streaming services by throttling back bandwidth across Europe in a bid to help broadband systems cope with the increase in demand caused by anti-Coronavirus measures.

Construction kit for the future internet

An interview with Ilya Baldin of UNC RENCI and lead PI of the $20M FABRIC testbed for a future wide area infrastructure, funded by the NSF and DOE.

An Interview With the Inventor of the Spanning Tree Protocol

Radia Perlman is an American computer programmer often described as the 'Mother of the Internet' for her invention of the spanning-tree protocol.

Net neutrality repeal under fire after data throttling to fire service vehicle

I'm not exactly sure what this type of throttling has to do with Net Neutrality, but it's interesting to see it in the news:

On the Design of TCP/IP

An interview of Vint Cerf and David Reed on the origin of TCP/IP and the Marina Del Rey meeting.

Some recent papers on Network Architecture

"On The Hourglass Model"
Micah Beck
Communications of the ACM, July 2019, Vol. 62 No. 7, Pages 48-57.
Interview with Dr. Beck.

"Interoperable Convergence of Storage, Networking and Computation"
Micah Beck, Terry Moore, Piotr Luszczek, Anthony Denalis
Future of Information and Communication Conference, 14-15 March 2019, San Francisco.

Course Requirements and Grading

The final course grade will be calculated as


For example, a student who scores 70 on midterm 1, 85 on midterm 2, 84 on the final, and 75 on the homework will have an overall score of

The intention of this grading scheme is that students have two chances to show their mastery of the material covered in the two midterms: on the midterm and on the cummulative final. The 90% of the course grade that is awarded on the basis of exams is available to every student at the time they take the final.

While it is possible for a student to skip the midterm exams and rely solely on the homework and final for their course grade, students are strongly advised against this approach. Here are some reasons for this advice: