CSC 397:  Topics in Computer Networking
Instructor Textbook Course Work Feedback forms Grading Schedule ( .dvi format / postscript / .pdf format )

Introduction: This group-independent study project will consider both conceptual and practical elements of computer networking, following a seminar format. Participants include five Computer Science Majors who are seniors, under the guidance of faculty member Henry Walker.


The group study activities will consider a wide range of advanced topics related to computer networks, including the following:

Some Special Considerations

This group independent study project is special in at least two ways. First, all students are senior Computer Science Majors, so each has considerably more background experience than can be assumed in any course in the regular computer-science curriculum. Thus, this work can be done at a significantly higher level of sophistication than is otherwise possible at Grinnell College.

Second, this group is small enough, so that the meeting format can provide extensive experience with oral presentations. Almost all upper-level computer science courses include 10 or more students, and most courses have at least 15 students. Such numbers significantly limit the amount of oral work that can be required within a semester. In this study project, the instructor will lead only the first meeting and, perhaps, the last one. Students will be responsible for all other sessions, providing an experience that simply is not possible in regular classes.


Henry M. Walker

Office: Science 2420
Telephone: extension 4208

Office hours are posted weekly on the bulletin board outside Science 2420, with additional hours possible by appointment. You may reserve a half hour meeting by signing up on the weekly schedule, but please sign up at least a day in advance.


Initial student presentations will follow a comprehensive book on advanced topics in computer networking. Specifically, after analysis of several candidates, the group has chosen Computer Networking: A Top-down Approach Featuring the Internet by James F. Kurose and Keith W. Ross, Addison-Wesley, 2001 as a primary source. The group also has identified several other books and articles as additional resources.

The schedule

While the schedule for this course is expected to evolve, a Tentative Class Schedule is available in both .dvi , postscript , and pdf formats.

Also, if you are logged into the departmental network and want a copy printed, click duerer to have a copy printed on the printer duerer, and click pacioli to have a copy printed on the printer pacioli .

Course Work

This group independent project will be comprised of two components: student presentations and an extended project.


This class depends upon the preparation of presenters. If presenters are ill-prepared or absent, the entire group suffers. Extensions are impossible, since the class must stay on schedule. Exchanging of lecture assignments with other class members is possible only with advanced approval from the instructor. Normally, such swapping will require at least 3 days advanced notice.

Presenters with unexpected difficulties should contact the instructor as soon as possible and certainly before the class period that the presentation is scheduled. Failure to do so will have a serious impact on the class and one's semester grade.

Feedback is essential to help presenters improve. Reviews of talks are due within two days of when the talks were given. Failure to submit reviews in a timely manner will seriously affect one's grade.

Exception: Deadlines for reviews are automatically extended at least one class day if MathLAN is down for an unscheduled period of 3 or more hours during the week preceding the assignment due date. (In such cases, however, deadlines for presentations are not extended.)

Absolute Deadline: All projects must be turned in by Friday, May 7 at 5:00 pm.


Since student presentations will make up a significant component of the work, about 2/3 of the final grade will be based on the quality of these presentations. The instructor will use the regular feedback forms as part of determining this component of the grade. Evaluation of work on the project will determine the remaining elements of the grade.

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created January 2, 2004
last revised January 12, 2004
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