6.824 - Spring 2009

General Information

Structure // Grading policy // Class meetings // Staff // Office Hours // Acknowledgements // Useful Books


6.824 is a core graduate subject with lectures, labs, quizzes, and a final project. 6.824 is 12 units. 6 EDPs.

Lectures are Tue/Thu 11:00am to 12:30pm in 36-153. Most class meetings will be one half lecture and one half paper discussion. You should read the paper before coming to class, and be prepared to discuss it. You can find out what paper to read for each meeting in the schedule.

We will post a question about each paper 24 hours before we discuss the paper. Please bring your answer to class on a sheet of paper and hand it in. Your answer need only be long enough to demonstrate that you understand the paper; a paragraph or two will usually be enough. We won't hand back the questions, but we will glance at them to make sure your answer makes sense, and they will count for part of the paper discussion grade.

6.824 will have two quizzes: one given during class in the middle of the term, and one during finals week.

There are programming labs due every week or two throughout the term.

At the end of the term you'll undertake a small project extending the lab programming assignments in a manner of your choice in small teams of at most 2 people. Each team will design and implement an extension of its choice. Each team will also submit a one page description about its project and present a demo.


Grade for this class will be based on:
You can hand programming assignments in late, but the total amount of lateness summed over all the assignments must not exceed 72 hours. If you hand in an assignment late, and your total late time (include the late time for that assignment) exceeds 72 hours, we will give that assignment a grade of D. You can divide up your 72 hours among the assignments however you like; you don't have to ask or tell us. If you want an exception to this rule, please bring us a letter from a dean.

Note that the labs and project are mandatory; if you do not hand all of them in by the last day of classes, you will receive an F regardless of your performance in other areas.

Collaboration policy

You must write all the code you hand in for the programming assignments, except for code that we give you as part of the assigment. You are not allowed to look at anyone else's solution (and you're not allowed to look at solutions from previous years). You may discuss the assignments with other students, but you may not look at or use each other's code.

You may discuss the questions for each discussion paper with other students, but you may not look at other students' answers. You must write your answers yourself.

Class meetings

6.824 meets TR 11am–12:30pm in 36-153.


Please use the mailing list (6.824-staff@pdos.csail.mit.edu) to send questions or comments about the course to the staff.

Frans Kaashoek
32-G992 3-7149 kaashoek@csail.mit.edu
Teaching assistant
David Schultz
32-G908 3-3058 das@csail.mit.edu
Course secretary
Neena Lyall
32-G970A 3-6019 lyall@csail.mit.edu

Office hours

Office hours are on Wednesdays from 4–5pm or by appointment. They will be held in the TA's office, 32-G908.


The course material is based on early instances of 6.824 taught by Robert Morris. Jinyang Li (NYU) and Jeremey Stribling (MIT) were instrumental in developing the present labs.

Useful Books

The labs for 6.824 require coding in C++. The following book is a useful reference on the language.

The C++ Programming Language. Bjarne Stroustrup. Addison Wesley.

Questions or comments regarding 6.824? Send e-mail to 6.824-staff@pdos.csail.mit.edu.

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