Carnegie Mellon University

Electrical and Computer Engineering

College of Engineering

Course Information

18-847C: Special Topics in Computer Systems: Data Center Computing




Hyperscale data centers host a wide range of online services such as cloud computing, social networks, video streaming, online messaging, web search, and online banking. This course will focus on studying the systems software, hardware, and distributed systems technology that compose modern data centers. The course will also expose students to cross-cutting data center issues related to service level objectives, latency unpredictability, total cost of ownership, energy efficiency, scalability, availability, and reliability.

The course is a combination of lectures, paper reading, and a semester-long project. Students will read up to two seminal papers per topic and submit brief summaries. In the classroom, we will start with a student presentation of the papers followed by an interactive discussion on the papers in terms of design innovation and challenges. Students will work in groups of 2-3 on a semester-long, open-ended research project on a cutting-edge data center topic.

This course is appropriate for graduate and advanced undergraduate students from ECE and CS who are interested in a vertical study of advanced cloud computing and data center systems. It is also appropriate for ECE and CS students who want to gain some experience with a semester-long research project on a cutting-edge systems topic.

Students are expected to attend class meetings and actively participate in the discussions. Paper summaries, presentations, and class participation are part of the grade. There is no formal prerequisite for this course. However, it would be helpful if students have a basic understanding of systems and architecture concepts and be comfortable with C/C++ and/or Python programming.

Last Modified: 2024-01-19 1:05PM

Semesters offered:

  • Spring 2024
  • Spring 2023
  • Spring 2022
  • Spring 2015