Have We Reached Consensus? An Analysis of Distributed Systems Syllabi

Cristina L. Abad, Eduardo Ortiz-Holguin, Edwin F. Boza

Correctly applying distributed systems concepts is important for software that seeks to be scalable, reliable and fast. For this reason, Distributed Systems is a course included in many Computer Science programs. To both describe current trends in teaching distributed systems and as a reference for educators that seek to improve the quality of their syllabi, we present a review of 51 syllabi of distributed systems courses from top Computer Science programs around the world. We manually curated the syllabi and extracted data that allowed us to identify approaches used in teaching this subject, including choice of topics, book, and paper reading list. We present our results and a discussion on whether what is being taught matches the guidelines of two important curriculum initiatives.

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