Topics in Software Engineering
Architecture and Design of Internet Information Systems

UC Santa Cruz – CMPS 290G – Winter 2002
T Th 10-11:45AM

Cowell Administration 113



Jim Whitehead


BE 123


Office Hours:

Tues 3-5, or by appointment

Every Week

A. Reading articles, attending lectures, participating in discussions

The readings in this course are designed to provide a solid, broad introduction to the design spaces faced by the architect of an information system that uses the Internet. Assigned readings are a combination of overviews/surveys of a specific topic, systems papers, protocol specifications, and “classics,” papers or systems that have had significant and lasting impact.

Class discussion of the readings is important both in engaging the ideas in the papers, and in developing a critical mindset concerning their contents.  Attendance at scheduled lectures, and in-class discussion of the readings are both required.

B. Rating/Reviewing articles

You are required to read and evaluate each of the assigned readings by Monday prior to discussion in class on Tuesday and Thursday. There is no requirement to read or evaluate the supplemental readings; they are provided as a starting point for further investigation. Evaluations are due by noon Monday, in the box outside my office (BE 123), and in PDF form (ideally only one file) emailed to the instructor. Each paper evaluation should be on a separate sheet of paper, and include:

·         The title, and first author’s name

·         The main point that the article seemed to make (2-5 sentences)

·         Two subjective numerical ratings on a 1-to-6 scale (1 low, 6 high):
a) How important is the material covered in the article?
b) How well-written was the article?

·         Two to three paragraphs concerning the content of the article, containing either:
a) A question about the article, such as one that you or someone reading the paper for the first time might have to stop and study, look elsewhere, or reread to find an answer. Questions should be accompanied by an elaboration of the question, and/or a discussion of its relevance.
b) A comment on the article, such as discussion of application, classification, comparison and/or evaluation of method or methods.
c) What you liked, disliked, found interesting or found unclear in the article.

Also, see “How to Read an Engineering Research Paper” by Bill Griswold for additional ideas (

Paper evaluations will be graded according to the following scale: 0: not submitted, 1: marginal, 2: what was expected, 3: outstanding.

You may, at your discretion, not turn in evaluations of up to seven articles, without penalty (that is, the first seven “0”’s will not be used in calculating your average evaluation grade). However, you are expected to have read all articles.

Whole Quarter

C. Term Project and Paper

Supplementing the readings, the term project allows in-depth examination of an Internet information system, or an important system design space. Projects can be individual, or in small teams of up to three students. Acceptable projects fall into three broad categories:

·         Develop a prototype of a new Internet information system, or extend an existing Internet information system. This project is appropriate for small-scale systems, since it involves coding, and is limited by the 10 week duration of the course.

·         Develop a paper prototype of a novel Internet information system. More appropriate for systems that have large scope, and hence could not be implemented in a single quarter.

·         Write a survey of a specific design space faced by the designer of an Internet information system. Involves a description of the applicable domain requirements, valid approaches for meeting these requirements (ideally in the form of a framework), systems that exemplify these approaches, and tradeoffs inherent in each choice. Individual projects only.

Each person or team will develop and propose an original project idea. A brief description of your project topic and approach is due Week 3 (January 24). A list of sources (articles, books, etc.) to be used in the project is due Week 4 (January 31). A draft of your final project paper is due Week 8 (February 28). While this draft does not need to be complete, you must submit a paper draft in Week 8. The final paper is due March 15.


Your grade/evaluation is based on the following factors:

·         40% – Paper evaluations and class participation.

·         50% – Term project, of which 25% is based on intermediate deliverables (project description, reading list, paper draft, etc.)

·         10% – Final exam

A minimum score of 50% in EACH of the three categories (project, paper evaluations and class participation, and final exam) is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to pass this class.