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This is a graduate-level course in cloud computing. Topics to be discussed include:

  • Computing as a Utility ; Cloud Economics ;
  • Data Center Architecture ;
  • Cloud Service Models (e.g., IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) ;
  • Case studies of major Cloud Providers, e.g. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Windows Azure
  • Overview of additional Data Center Services (e.g. Distributed File Systems, Memcached, Dynamo, BigTable, Chubby, Zookeeper)
  • Distributed and Parallel data-processing/programming models and platforms (e.g. MapReduce, Hadoop, GFS/HDFS, GraphLab, SPARK, Stream-based processing with STORM);
  • Concurrency and Replication Consistency in Clouds (Locks and Transactions, CAP Theorem, ACID vs. BASE, Consensus management - Paxos and Zookeeper);
  • High-level Cloud Languages and Cloud-based Databases (PIG, HIVE, Conventional database management systems vs. NoSQL Data-stores in practice: BigTable, HBASE, Cassandra );
  • Case studies of real-world Cloud-based Services, e.g. Netflix, Storage management in Facebook
  • Data Center Management platform (e.g. OpenStack)
  • Cloud Service Security and Privacy ;
  • Virtualization Technologies (e.g. Xen, VMware) if time permits ;

Course Information

Lecture time:

  • THUR 7:00pm - 10:00pm


  • 1/F, Hong Kong Productivity Council Building, 78 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong

  • Wu Ho Man Yuen Building, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Only for Oct 9)

Lab Workshop/Tutorial:

  • To be scheduled


  • Prof. Wing Cheong Lau. wclau [at] ie [dot] cuhk [dot] edu [dot] hk
  • Office hours: Tue 10:45am to 12:15pm or by Appointment

Teaching Assistant:

  • XU Huanle.
    • xh112 [at] ie [dot] cuhk [dot] edu [dot] hk
    • Office hours: Fri 4:00pm to 5:00pm
  • YANG Ronghai
    • yr013 [at] ie [dot] cuhk [dot] edu [dot] hk
    • Office hours: Fri 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Website account:

Password: fall5735cmsc

Recommended Textbooks

Tentative Timetable

Lecture Date Class Room Topic Period Recommended Readings Additional References
Sep 4 Function Room Course Admin ; Overview ; Cloud Economics and Service Models 7:00pm - 10:00pm [JLin]Ch1 [MMDS]Ch1
Sep 11 Function Room Data Center Architecture ; 7:00pm - 10:00pm [DataCenter] -
Sep 18 Function Room Case Study on major Cloud Providers ; Additional Data Center Services ; 7:00pm - 10:00pm - [KenBirman] Ch.5
Sep 25 Function Room Distributed/Parallel Programming Models for the Cloud (Part I): MapReduce/ Hadoop, GFS/HDFS 7:00pm - 10:00pm [MMDS]Ch2.1-2.4 ; [JLin]Ch2, Ch3.1-3.4 [Hadoop]
**Oct 2 Chung Yeung Festival**
Oct 9 WMY 507 MapReduce/ Hadoop, GFS/HDFS(cont'd) 7:00pm - 10:00pm [MMDS]Ch2.1-2.4 ; [JLin]Ch2, Ch3.1-3.4 [Hadoop]
Oct 16 Function Room Concurrency, Consistency, Transaction control in Cloud-based systems 7:00pm - 10:00pm [PaperTrailBlog2PC] -
Oct 23 Function Room Fault-tolerance, Replication Consistency, Consensus Management for Cloud-based systems 7:00 - 10:00pm [PaperTrailBlogPaxos] [KenBirman]Ch.10
Oct 30 Function Room Distributed and Parallel Programming models for the Cloud (Part II): GraphLab 7:00pm - 10:00pm [JLin]Ch5 ; [GraphLabPapers] -
Nov 6 108 CAP Theorem ; ACID vs. BASE 7:00 - 10:00pm [CloudData] ; [NoSQL] -
Nov 13 108 The NoSQL movement ; Cloud-based Data-stores 7:00 - 10:00pm [Hadoop]Ch.13 [HBase] ; [Cassandra]
Nov 20 108 High-level Cloud Query Languages 7:00 - 10:00pm [Hadoop]Ch.11-12 [Pig] ; [Hive]
Nov 27 108 Data-center OS: OpenStack ; Case studies of real-world Cloud-based services 7:00 - 10:00pm [OpenStackOp]
Dec. 4 108 Cloud Service Security and Privacy 7:00 - 10:00pm -
Dec. 11 WMY 505 **Final examination on Dec 11 (Thu) 7:00pm to 9:00pm** 7:00 - 9:00pm -
Dec. 18 WMY 505 ** Project Presentation** 6:30 - 9:30pm -
Dec. 20 WMY 505 ** Project Presentation** 8:30am - 6:15pm -
**Final examination on Dec 11 (Thu) 7:00pm to 9:00pm**
**Project presentations on December 18 (Thu) evening and Dec 20 (Sat) All-day**

Course Assessment

Your grade will be based on the following components:

  • Homeworks & Programming assignments (4-5 sets in total): 40%
  • Project: 20%
  • Final Exam: 40% (2-hour final examination)

Student/Faculty Expectations on Teaching and Learning


Academic Honesty

You are expected to do your own work and acknowledge the use of anyone else's words or ideas. You MUST put down in your submitted work the names of people with whom you have had discussions.

Refer to http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/policy/academichonesty for details

When scholastic dishonesty is suspected, the matter will be turned over to the University authority for action.

You MUST include the following signed statement in all of your submitted homework, project assignments and examinations. Submission without a signed statement will not be graded.

I declare that the assignment here submitted is original except for source material explicitly acknowledged, and that the same or related material has not been previously submitted for another course. I also acknowledge that I am aware of University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and of the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations, as contained in the website http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/policy/academichonesty/.


Thanks a lot to Amazon and Microsoft for their great support of this course

Course Collaborators