Introduction to Computer Networks

Spring 2020


This is an introductory course on computer networks, largely the Internet. The course is designed for undergraduate students who are interested in the science and engineering aspects of the Internet. The goal is two-fold: to communicate the technical essence and to foster development skill.

We will take the top-down approach this semester. Following a (hopefully) brief overview, the lectures will go right into the Internet applications most of us are familiar with, e.g., the WWW and the HTTP protocol that's supporting the operation of WWW. HTTP there is referred to as an Application layer protocol.

The intention is to go 3-4 weeks per layer, digging in to the low-level details one layer at a time, e.g., the TCP protocol running at the Transport layer, the BGP routing running at the Network layer, and the Ethernet protocol running at the Link layer. When time permits, we shall look into also protocols that are supporting the mobile lifestyle and the very pervasive multimedia services on the Internet.

Communication of knowledge is often more effective when it's put into use. Eying also the job prospective, the course features a series of programming assignments (PAs) and accompanying videos to lead you into the world of network and web programming with Go, a programming language adopted widely by the major Internet companies, e.g., Google and Facebook, for server-side implementations.