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6.829 Computer Networks (H)

Networking Ad Infinitum
(3.6 3.3 6.9)

Lecturer: : H. Balakrishnan
Lecturer's Rating: 6.5/7.0
Prerequisites: 6.033, 6.042, understanding of computer network basics, background with distributed systems and communications, C/C++, Unix, algorithms, statistics
Response rate: 26 out of 56
Difficulty: 5.1/7.0
Overall Rating: 5.8/7.0
Term Evaluated: Fall 2003

Lecturer's Comments:

This class is recommended for graduate students who are interested in networking research or who still have to pass the TQE. Students should be aware that the class involves a lot work. They should also try to do the readings before lecture.

6.829 covered state-of-the-art network research, including wireless and P2P. There was a good balance of theory and application.


  • Amazing lecturer
  • Lecture notes
  • Hands-on UNIX hacking
  • Cutting-edge research ideas


  • Long problem sets
  • Too many papers to read
  • Scope of subject too broad
  • Fast pace of subject
  • Not all lectures had notes

The students enrolled, mostly graduate students and seniors, took this class to fulfill MEng and TQE requirements. Many also took it because it dealt with interesting material and provided a good overview of networking.

Lecturer H. Balakrishnan (6.5/7.0, 26 responses) gave excellent lectures that were engaging. Balakrishnan was a talented teacher, with a knack for covering material efficiently. Sometimes, he spoke, wrote, and moved in lecture at a dizzying speed; it would be helpful if he slowed down.

TA B. Leong (5.2/7.0, 11 responses) taught recitations and was very accessible and helpful.

TA J. Jung (5.5/7.0, 4 responses) and TA A. Yip (5.3/7.0, 4 responses) taught recitations and were generally well prepared, but it was apparent that they were teaching for the first time.

The three problem sets took an average of twenty two hours each to complete. Problem sets were long and required too much grunge work, but really helped students to learn the material. There was considerable collaborated on the problems sets even if this only constituted checking answers. It was considered helpful.

Class notes on various topics were great when they existsed. More class notes on topics such as wireless networking and overlays would have been helpful.

Grades were based on three problem sets (25%), quizzes (30%), the project (40%), and participation (5%). Exams were comprehensive, long, and demanded a very good understanding of concepts, but they were fair. Students commented that the exams could have been more conceptual and less detail-oriented.

"So much work"
"The TAs were mostly organized, though it showed that they were giving recitations for the first time."
"Hari is awesome, I want to marry him!"

Dated: February 02, 2004
Eta Kappa Nu, MIT