Distributed Systems (DAT520)

The course gives insight into both theoretical and practical aspects of distributed computing systems, particularly techniques for building fault-tolerant systems.

Course description for study year 2024-2025. Please note that changes may occur.


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The course gives insight into important theoretical principles of distributed computing, including system models for interaction and failure, interprocess communication, synchronization, time and global states, protocols for coordination and consensus (Paxos), distributed transactions, fault tolerance, consistency, and replication. The course also covers concrete systems and architectures for distributed systems: map-reduce, distributed hash tables, peer-to-peer systems, gossip-based systems, and distributed file and storage systems.

The course also includes a significant programming project based on concepts and algorithms studied in class, in which the student must show how these can be implemented in practice.

The programming project in this course shall be implemented using the Go programming language.

Learning outcome


  • Be familiar with important principles for the design and implementation of distributed systems.
  • Be familiar with the most common system architectures for distributed systems.
  • Be familiar with essential techniques for solving various problems in distributed systems.


  • Be able to develop advanced distributed applications with fault tolerance properties.
  • Be able to perform independent research in distributed systems.
  • Be able to reason about problems that involve distributed components.

General competency

  • Know how to develop distributed computer systems.

Required prerequisite knowledge


Recommended prerequisites

DAT320 Operating Systems and Systems Programming
Operating systems, computer networking, advanced programming


Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written exam 1/1 4 Hours Letter grades None permitted

Digital exam.

Coursework requirements

Compulsory assignments

Mandatory programming assignments. Pass/Fail. You must submit your solution to our system for automated evaluation, followed by in-lab approval. All programming assignments must be passed to sit for the written exam.

Completion of mandatory lab assignments is to be made at the times and in the assigned groups. Absence due to illness or other reasons must be communicated as soon as possible to the laboratory personnel. One cannot expect that provisions for completion of the lab assignments at other times are made unless prior arrangements with the laboratory personnel have been agreed upon.

Failure to complete the assigned labs on time or not having them approved will result in being barred from sitting for the exam in the course.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Hein Meling

Head of Department:

Tom Ryen

Method of work

4 hours of lectures and 4 hours of mandatory work. All mandatory work (such as hand-ins, lab work, projects, etc. ) must be approved within the specified deadlines throughout the course.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
Distributed systems (MID110_1) 10

Open for

Computer Science - Master of Science Degree Programme Industrial Economics - Master of Science Degree Programme
Exchange programme at Faculty of Science and Technology

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


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