Faculty of Information Technology

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Information Technology
OfferedClayton Second semester 2013 (Day)


Modern computer systems rely increasingly on distributed computing mechanisms, implemented often as clusters, web services, grids and clouds. Distributed computing systems can provide seamless (or web-like) access to a variety of networked resources, e.g. processing cores, large data stores and information repositories, expensive instruments, high-speed links, sensor networks, and multimedia services for a wide range of applications. This unit provides foundation knowledge and understanding of the basic mechanisms required to implement distributed computing systems, especially clouds, grids, web services and clusters. Topics covered include: Introduction to parallel and distributed computing mechanisms, concurrency and synchronisation, monitors, deadlocks, concurrent program analysis - Deadlock, Safety & Liveness properties, computational and service-oriented grids. LVS and Beowulf Clusters. Gridservices, Webservices, WSDL, HPC Portals, Home Grids, Clouds and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks. Distributed applications, and their performance and reliability in relation to processor and network performance constraints.


At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  • understand basic problems in distributed computing, especially in relation to concurrency, parallelism, synchronisation, deadlocks, safety and liveness properties;
  • understand differences between various distributed computing models and widely used distributed computing schemes;
  • understand basic functional and performance concepts in grids and clouds and identify frequent causes of performance problems in grid applications;
  • understand basic software and hardware reliability concepts in grids and identify frequent causes of reliability problems in grid applications;
  • discuss some of the enabling technologies e.g. high-speed links, emulators and storage area networks for building computer grids and clouds;
  • explain the use of some of the cloud computing, grid computing and clustering middleware used to implement virtual super computers, including security mechanisms;
  • explain programming toolkits such as Parallel Virtual Machine (PVM) for writing parallel computer applications;
  • explain HPC Portals, peer-to-peer (P2P) networking and semantic grids;

elaborate some of the significant grid and cloud computing areas of application e.g. Bio-Technology, eHealth and eMedicine, Finance, and Computer Networks;

  • install and configure a small computer grid using Globus toolkit middleware;
  • gain basic familiarity with commonly used grid application tools and middleware interfaces;
  • extend the grid and test these applications.


Examination (3 hours): 60%; In-semester assessment: 40%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hr laboratory/wk, 1 hr tutorial/wk

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


(FIT2069, FIT2070 and one of FIT3141 or ECE2041) or (FIT1005/FIT2008 and FIT2022)



Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: