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ECPE 293A - Cloud Computing - Spring 2014


Jeff Shafer

Office: Anderson Hall 205
Phone: (209) 946-2302
Email: jshafer at pacific dot edu

Office Hours: Wed 1-3pm, Thur 2-4pm, and by appointment.


Course Basics


Course Description

This course will focus on the hot topic of cloud computing today at two levels. First, at a low level, we will explore the technological underpinnings that enable modern cloud computing, with a focus on virtualization technology (such as Xen), middleware systems, and programming models (such as MapReduce). We will discuss current research focused on improving the security, performance, fault-tolerance, and energy efficiency of these cloud computing systems. Second, at a high level, we will utilize these cloud computing technologies as application programmers to construct distributed and large-scale data processing systems in class projects. These projects will focus on understanding the tradeoffs of cloud computing systems and applying the right technology for the needs of a particular application and data set.


Learning Objectives

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • Understand the cloud computing paradigm, including how it was created and its relationship to other computing models
  • Critically evaluate research papers on cloud computing technologies
  • Successfully implement systems using programming models such as MapReduce and infrastructure systems such as Amazon Web Services.


Attendance Policy

Attendance is mandatory for this class and is particularly important in facilitating engaging group discussions. The only acceptable excuses for missing class or an assignment due date are serious illness, death in the immediate family or important professional activities. Illness or death in the family may require documentation. Excuses for professional activities must be approved by the instructor in advance.

While there is no dedicated portion of your grade allocated to "physical presence in the classroom", note that the research paper summaries are worth 30% of the class grade, and I will not award any points in the case where a paper summary is completed but the student did not attend the corresponding in-class discussion. Students who miss class meetings are responsible for keeping up with paper readings, tutorials, announcements, and other materials that may be posted on the course website or sent via email (at your email address posted in Sakai).


Grading Policy

Grades for the course are assigned on the scale below:


> 93


< 90-­87

< 87-­83

< 83-­80

< 80-­77

< 77-­73

< 73-­70

< 70-­67

< 67-­60

< 60













Your course grade is based on the following items:


Paper summaries are due at the beginning of class, and will not be accepted late. Further, it is not acceptable to submit a paper summary electronically, and then not attend the corresponding class discussion.  Zero points will be awarded in this situation, with the exception of approved absences described above.

Late projects will be accepted with a 2% deduction in points for every day late. Late projects will not be accepted more than 5 days past the deadline. You will have plenty of time to do assignments, but only if you start when they are assigned.

Please note that copies of student work may be retained by the instructor to assess how the learning objectives of the course are met.


Honor Code 

The Honor Code at the University of the Pacific calls upon each student to exhibit a high degree of maturity, responsibility, and personal integrity. Students are expected to:

  • Act honestly in all matters
  • Actively encourage academic integrity
  • Discourage any form of cheating or dishonesty by others
  • Inform the instructor and appropriate university administrator if she or he has a reasonable and good faith belief and substantial evidence that a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy has occurred.

Violations will be referred to and investigated by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. If a student is found responsible, it will be documented as part of her or his permanent academic record. A student may receive a range of penalties, including failure of an assignment, failure of the course, suspension, or dismissal from the University. The Academic Honesty Policy is located in Tiger Lore and online at


ECPE 293A-specific Honor Code

Each student has the option of joining a group for the programming projects. Each group may split up the project tasks in whatever way they see fit, as long as the division of labor is equitable and documented in the written project reports.

You may use any available reference material to help you with the projects. However, you must clearly identify any code that was not written by your group, state where it came from, and to what extent you modified it. You may discuss high-level approaches to the course projects with students in the class outside your group, but different groups may not share specific implementations or code.


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you are a student with a disability who requires accommodations, please contact the Director of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) for information on how to obtain an Accommodations Request Letter.

3-step Accommodation Process

  • Student meets with the SSD Director and provides documentation and completes registration forms.
  • Student requests accommodation(s) each semester by completing the Request for Accommodations Form.
  • Student arranges to meet with his/her professors to discuss the accommodation(s) and to sign the Accommodation Request Letter

To ensure timeliness of services, it is preferable that you obtain the accommodation letter(s) from the Office of SSD within two weeks of the start of the semester.
 After the instructor receives the accommodation letter, please schedule a meeting with the instructor during office hours or some other mutually convenient time to arrange the accommodation(s).

The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities is located in the McCaffrey Center, Rm. 137. 
Phone: 209-946-3221