CS 3520

Advanced Topics in Computer Networks: Performance Analysis

Fall 2006



Instructor: Prof. José Carlos Brustoloni (jcb@cs.pitt.edu)

-- Classes: SENSQ 6516 – M W 12:55 p.m. – 2:20 p.m.

-- Office hours: SENSQ 6111 – M W 2:20 – 4:20 p.m.

Course rationale and objectives:

New types of computer systems and networks usually are adopted only if they perform better than previous alternatives, or offer other advantages (such as better security or ease-of use) without excessive performance penalty.  Performance analysis is therefore a necessary step in many areas of computer science research. This course covers systematically the main techniques used in performance analysis, including workload selection and characterization, experimental design and analysis, simulation, and queueing models.


CS 1550 (undergraduate operating systems course) or

CS 1652 (undergraduate networking course)


1.      Introduction

a.       Common mistakes

b.      Selection of techniques and metrics

2.      Workload selection and characterization

3.      Monitors and accounting logs

4.      Capacity planning and benchmarking

5.      Data presentation and ratio games

6.      Summarizing measured data

7.      Comparing systems using sample data

8.      Linear and other regression models

9.      Experimental design

a.       2k factorial

b.      2kr factorial with replications

c.       2k-p fractional factorial

d.      One-factor

e.       Two-factor full factorial without replications

f.        Two-factor full factorial with replications

g.       General full factorial with k factors

10.  Simulation

a.       Basic tools

b.      Model verification and validation

c.       Transient removal and termination criteria

d.      Variance reduction

e.       Random-number generation

f.        Random-variate generation

g.       Commonly used distributions

11.  Queueing models

a.       Basic notation and rules; Little’s law

b.      Analysis of a single queue

c.       Queueing networks

d.      Operational laws

e.       Mean-Value Analysis (MVA)

f.        Convolution algorithm

g.       Hierarchical decomposition of large queueing networks

Required textbook:

Raj Jain, “The Art of Computer Systems Performance Analysis,” Wiley, available from the Pitt bookstore.


30% Class presentations and participation

30% Homeworks

20% Midterm exam (11/13, covers chapters 1-18)

20% Final exam (12/13, covers chapters 19-34)

In some cases, it may be possible to develop a project of appropriate scope in lieu of the exams. These cases need to be discussed with and formally approved by the instructor before 9/7/06.

Important dates:

8/28 First class

9/4 Labor Day (no class)

9/8 Add/Drop deadline

10/27 Withdrawal deadline

11/22-11/26 Thanksgiving recess (no class)

12/13 Last class


·        Students should check regularly for course announcements on http://courseweb.pitt.edu

·        Class attendance is necessary for class participation. That portion of a student’s grade will suffer if the student does not come to class.

·        Presentation slides should be emailed to the instructor by 6:45 a.m. on the day of the presentation. Presentations received late will be penalized 10% until 10 a.m. and 20% until 12:50 p.m. on the day of the presentation. They are unacceptable after that.

·        Homeworks should be handed in to the instructor, printed or handwritten, by the beginning of class on the day it’s due (no email or mailbox, please). Late homeworks will be penalized 5% per day or fraction thereof up to two days and 10% per day or fraction up to another 5 days. They are unacceptable after that.

·        Students caught cheating will fail the course.

·        Except in case of documented emergency, there will be no make-up exams. Related documentation must be produced to the instructor no later than a week after a missed date.

Religious observances:

If a scheduled class or exam conflicts with a religious observance you have, please alert the instructor as early as possible in the term for rescheduling or other accommodation.

Students with disabilities:

If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and the Office of Disability Resources and Services, 216 William Pitt Union, (412) 648-7890/(412) 383-7355 (TTY), as early as possible in the term. DRS will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.