CS3 Computer Communications


Historically, computing and telecommunications were viewed as distinct technical entities. Now, with the advent of cheap computers, mobile devices and sophisticated computer networks, these have merged to provide a set of information resources and facilitaters which pervade almost all aspects of our lives. The course examines the fundamental techniques used to implement the sharing of information between computers, and applies them to all levels of communication, from the transmission of bits along physical connections to the distribution of computations over many processors.


The formal requirements for this course are a general knowledge of how computers work, how humans communicate and programming expertise. This course is a pre-requisite for the CS4 Computer Networking module, which covers recent developments and future trends in computer networking.



The module is delivered by Eric McKenzie. The method of delivery is two lectures per week. There are no formal tutorials.


An examination paper accounts for 75% of the mark. Coursework accounts for 25% of the mark. There is a piece of assessed coursework to implement components of an internationally standard connection-oriented protocol during the second half of the term; a set of short exercises in the first half of the term are used as a basis for this work. The coursework involves understanding a protocol specification, and then the design and implementation of software modules to complete a software system that simulates real-time communication with a trusted implementation over a channel with non-ideal properties. The short exercises count for 20% of the overall coursework mark; they are promulgated at the beginning of week 3 of term, must be submitted at the beginning of week 5 of term, and are returned at the end of week 5 of term. The main exercise counts for the remaining 80% of the overall coursework; it is promulgated at the end of week 6 of term, must be submitted by the end of term, and is returned at the beginning of the next term.

Reading material