What Goes Through the Ethernet Cables
(3.0 0.0 5.9)
|Lecturer: H. Balakrishnan
Lecturer's Rating: H. Balakrishnan 6.2/7.0
Prerequisites: basic knowledge of networks, 6.033, probability & statistics
Web Page: http://wind.lcs.mit.edu/6.892-f99/
|Response rate: 24/38
Overall Rating: 5.8/7.0
Term Evaluated: Fall '99
This subject covers computer networks. The goals are to understand the state-of the-art in network protocols, network architecture, and applications, to understand how networking research and projects are done, and to investigate novel ideas via a term project.
The class is very appropriate to research and very useful to learn about and then do networking research. Students who want to know how and why the Internet works can take this class.
My teaching philosophy is to emphasize ideas and techniques over details, but not gloss over details. Two concepts students should keep are 1) what the numerous pieces of the Internet architecture and infrastructure are and how they each work and 2) how they all fit together.
If I were to teach the subject again, some of the readings will almost certainly change since the field is changing rapidly. Maybe I will show some protocol animations in class.
The class is intended for graduate students. Those who are interested in networks and want to do research in that area should take it.
The class provides a good and detailed exposure to current networking issues and it gives good experience in doing some related research. However, it covers a lot of material (i.e. too many papers to read) and that it assumes you already have prior knowledge about networking in general.
Lecturer H. Balakrishnam was praised by most of his students for being knowledgeable, motivated and well-prepared. He was a clear in speaking, friendly, accessible, and responsive to questions. He was focused and organized to some and he encouraged class discussion among the students. One general complaint, however, was that he covered "too much material too quickly" and that he occassionally talked too fast.
TA J. Kulik did not received many comments since there was only one tutorial, which was too short. A few students thought she was helpful through office hours and questions answered via e-mail.
The problem sets were generally interesting but too mathmatical. They were occasionally helpful to learn the material and to prepare for the final project to some. Most students, however, thought the problems are too long and some are too time consuming. The questions were tedious and sometimes vague to some.
Collaboration on problem sets was recommended and was widely practiced. Bibles, however, were rarely used.
The class had no lab but a final project. Some students thought they had too little time to do the project. Others thought it was fun and learned quite a bit of material while doing some research.
There was only one quiz, which some students felt was too few. Some thought the questions were fair while others thought they were too long and difficult. There were some complaints that the format of the quiz was foreign and did not correlate with the problem sets. Grades are roughly based 25% on 3 problem sets, 10% on participation, and 20% on the midterm exam.
Some advice for the class is to have fewer papers and to hand out lecture notes.
"More courses like this!"
Rating for Lecturer H. Balakrishnan: