Communication Networks

9 units (3-3-3)  |  first term
Prerequisites: Ma 2, Ma 3, CS 24 and CS 38, or instructor permission.
This course focuses on the link layer (two) through the transport layer (four) of Internet protocols. It has two distinct components, analytical and systems. In the analytical part, after a quick summary of basic mechanisms on the Internet, we will focus on congestion control and explain: (1) How to model congestion control algorithms? (2) Is the model well defined? (3) How to characterize the equilibrium points of the model? (4) How to prove the stability of the equilibrium points? We will study basic results in ordinary differential equations, convex optimization, Lyapunov stability theorems, passivity theorems, gradient descent, contraction mapping, and Nyquist stability theory. We will apply these results to prove equilibrium and stability properties of the congestion control models and explore their practical implications. In the systems part, the students will build a software simulator of Internet routing and congestion control algorithms. The goal is not only to expose students to basic analytical tools that are applicable beyond congestion control, but also to demonstrate in depth the entire process of understanding a physical system, building mathematical models of the system, analyzing the models, exploring the practical implications of the analysis, and using the insights to improve the design. Not offered 2021-2022.
Instructors: Low, Ralph

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