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Welcome to Distributed Systems 2020!

Joining the course

First step: please join the course. For this, please click on the “student” item in the upper left corner of the page. There you can then get a list of open courses to join. Once you joined the course, please read the rest of this page. Also, you will find the lecture notes, videos etc. in the exercise sheet “Course Schedule, Lecture Notes, and News”.


You find the news in the item “course schedule, lecture notes and news” below.


Why should I take this class? What will I learn? In a nutshell, we will introduce and discuss the underlying concepts and mechanisms that drive today’s distributed systems such as the Internet, data centers, etc. My lectures provide you with the required knowledge, and the labs give you a hands-on experience in developing distributed systems and exploring their real-world challenges. See here for an overview video.


  • Lecture slides - linked in sheet (“Blätter”) course schedule, videos, lecture notes and news
  • Exercise assignments - see tab sheets (“Blätter”) below

The exercises include a Prelab that has to be passed before the actual homework exercises can be conducted.

For on premise lectures (unlikely for the 2020 edition of the course): If possible, please bring an Internet-capable device with you, such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop. We will use it for some interactive teaching. If you bring a smartphone or tablet, I would also suggest installing a QR-code reader app.


Notes on teaching in presence of the Corona Virus:

  • We will be teaching the course and the labs online
  • Videos of the lectures are pre-recoded. We use the videos from the previous year, so please ignore all anouncements on the labs etc.
  • We will have weekly office hour where you can talk to us in case of questions. See below for details.
  • Certain sessions such as project proposals and project presentations are likely to be live (in Zoom), but the details depend on the number of students enrolled. You should have a compter with a good Internet connection and a camera plus microphone and speakers to present your projects.
  • For the labs, you will need a computer with Linux (and have root permissions). Most likely you will record your presentations and demos and submit them.

Corona Office hours

  • Questiosn about the lectures: Thursdays, 12ct (during the normal course times) in Zoom (Meeting ID: 850 9166 5385, Passcode: 376457)
  • Labs: Thursdays, 14.15-15.45: Zoom

For both office hours: We will first have a open discussion and after that have time for one-to-one questions. For the second part, we will admit students/lab groups one one-on-one basis to answer questions. Others will wait in the waiting room. We close once nobody is in the waiting room anymore or 90 minutes are over, so please be one time.


Your feedback is very important to us! As usual, we will use your feedback from the anonymous course evaluation to further improve the course. Additionally, your direct feedback is very welcome: please feel very invited to discuss the course and any suggestions you have with us personally.

Course Book

Marten van Steen and Andrew S. Tanenbaum, “Distributed Systems”, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, ISBN-10: 1543057381, ISBN-13: 978-1543057386, Third edition (!). There might be different ISBN numbers for hard and soft cover etc. Digital copy: On the site of the authors, a digital copy is available (upon request) for free (note that we are using the third edition).


You find all contact information here.