Assignment #1 - Paper on A Parallel/Distributed System or Application

Due by 11:59pm, Wednesday, January 29.

Please direct your questions to the instructor about this assignment.

In this assignment, you will write a paper on a parallel/distributed system or application. The paper must target one such system, application, or a certain kind of systems or applications. If you were drawn to this course for a particular reason or interest, that might lead you to an appropriate paper topic. Note that the chosen system or application must be widely used by many users in practice, or are gaining popularity to be used widely. Therefore an application that you are developing for your research (but is not used widely in practice) is not appropriate. If you have questions on the appropriateness of your selected topic, please contact the instructor.

In your paper, please provide a brief description of the target system or application, explain why it is being widely used or gaining popularity, elaborate on the challenges it faces for further growth, and (optionally) speculate on new ideas to enhance the target system and application. While we expect that most materials will come from your reading and understanding of existing knowledge, it is particularly helpful to provide your personal insights on some of these issues. We will use our discretion to assign a grade based on the degree of your paper's coverage of important related issues, and the strength of your own insights that are not widely known.

A recommended length of the paper is 2000 words, although you should make your own judgment on the appropriate length of your paper. Please make sure that your paper has an appropriate title and a short abstract (a few sentences) that summarizes the paper's content and findings.

You certainly understand that you must write every part of your paper on your own. Much of your paper describes the existing knowledge, but you must use your own words. Please make sure that you make proper citations when describing others' work (again, always using your own words).

Recycling relevant materials from your own previous works (e.g., project reports in other classes, submitted/published research papers) is allowed for this survey as long as the following rules are followed. First, the recycled materials are indeed yours (e.g., not written by a co-author in previous work). Second, the recycled materials should only constitute a small portion of this paper (roughly less than 30%). Third, you must clearly indicate which parts of your paper are recycled materials from your previous work.


You are asked to turn in your paper. Note that the submitted paper must be in PDF format. You should electronically turn in the paper. Instructions for electronic turn-in can be found on the course web site.

Late turn-in policy:

Late turn-ins will be accepted for up to one day with 10% penalty. No turn-ins more than one-day late will be accepted.