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Monash University

FIT5170 Programming for distributed, parallel and mobile systems - Semester 1, 2014

This unit focuses on the design and programming techniques essential for developing distributed software systems and applications - with Java as the teaching language. The unit presents concurrent programming primitives and concepts for distributed systems. The unit also focuses on application of concurrent techniques in distributed system designs. Programming and implementation issues and techniques of distributed applications are studied. Enabling techniques for building distributed systems are analysed and evaluated. Distributed Software Patterns are presented. The unit also includes case studies of distributed programming paradigms and their applications (e.g. JINI, JavaSpaces).

Mode of Delivery

Caulfield (Day)

Workload Requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 12 hours per week comprising:

(a.) Contact hours for on-campus students:

  • Two hours of lectures
  • One 2-hour laboratory

(b.) Additional requirements (all students):

  • A minimum of 8 hours independent study per week for completing lab and project work, private study and revision.

Unit Relationships


Recommended knowledge: Some exposure to multithreading. Knowledge of all Java language constructs such as loops, conditionals, methods, classes, inheritance and core Java packages. Use of O/O models such as UML diagrams.

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


Malik Khan



Malik Khan

Consultation hours: TBA

Your feedback to Us

Monash is committed to excellence in education and regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through the Student Evaluation of Teaching and Units (SETU) survey. The University’s student evaluation policy requires that every unit is evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys. The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

For more information on Monash’s educational strategy, see:

www.monash.edu.au/about/monash-directions/ and on student evaluations, see: www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/quality/student-evaluation-policy.html

Previous Student Evaluations of this Unit

This unit is tailored towards introducing technologies and techniques in mobile and distributed system development. Student feedback has informed improvements to this unit including regular updates in unit content to follow the latest trend in this development area.   

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to

Academic Overview

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this unit students will:
  • understand the concepts and characteristics of distributed and concurrent software;
  • identify and evaluate common distributed and concurrent software designs;
  • design distributed software applications using typical distributed software architectures;
  • write distributed and concurrent software programs.

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 Introduction, Java Revision, Threads NOTE: Tutorial labs commence in Week 1
2 Architecture, TCP/IP, Sockets  
3 Protocol Design  
4 State Transitions, Half-Object Plus Protocol, Structured Data Formats  
5 General Security, Java Security  
6 HTTP and Java Assignment 1 due Sunday 13 April 2014 11.55PM
7 RPC and RMI  
8 CORBA, Introduction to Enterprise JavaBeans  
9 Web Services  
10 JavaSpaces, JMS, JXTA and Multiple Middleware  
11 Mobile Development Platforms, Java for Android Development  
12 Lecture Revision and Exam Discussion Assignment 2 due Sunday 1 June 2014 11.55PM
  SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken in SWOT VAC
  Examination period LINK to Assessment Policy: http://policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/

*Unit Schedule details will be maintained and communicated to you via your learning system.

Teaching Approach

Lecture and tutorials or problem classes
This teaching and learning approach provides facilitated learning, practical exploration and peer learning.

Assessment Summary

Examination (3 hours): 50%, In-semester assessment: 50%

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Assignment 1 25% Sunday 13 April 2014 11:55PM (end of week 6)
Assignment 2 25% Sunday 1 June 2014 11:55PM (end of Week 12)
Examination 1 50% To be advised

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

Assessment Tasks


  • Assessment task 1
    Assignment 1
    The design and implementation of a distributed system employing the principles and technologies introduced in the early to mid part of the semester.
    Criteria for assessment:

    This is an individual assignment and is to be entirely your own work.

    Assessment for this assignment is by interview. You will be asked to demonstrate your system at an interview in the week following the submission date. At the interview you can also expect to be asked to explain your system, your code, your design, discuss design decisions and alternatives and modify your code/system as required. Marks will not be awarded for any section of code or functionality that a student cannot explain satisfactorily. (The marker may delete excessive comments in code before a student is asked to explain that code).

    Interview times will be arranged in the tutorial labs immediately preceding the submission deadline. It is your responsibility to attend the lab and obtain an interview time.

    Students who do not attend an interview will receive 0 marks for the assignment. 

    Further detailed assesssment criteria will be available with the assignment specification.

    Due date:
    Sunday 13 April 2014 11:55PM (end of week 6)
    The details of the task and other requirements will be outlined in the assignment specification.
  • Assessment task 2
    Assignment 2
    This is a theoretical assignment requiring research into selected topic(s) relating to the concepts covered in the lectures. It is done individually by the students.
    Criteria for assessment:

    This is an individual research assignment and is to be entirely your own work.

    This assignment tests the students' ability to to build upon the concepts learnt in the lectures, by independently researching the specified individual research topics to be selected area, and reporting upon these clearly and concisely, in their written reports. This requires:

    1. Correctness and understanding - there may be more than one "right" answer in many cases. We will look for research component research skills and answers that reflect understanding of the underlying principles and theories.
    2. Reporting; process of writing, response to suggestions, Report defence during evaluation and Initiative/independence. And finally writing the Final report with theoretical background, Presentation of results: clarity of tables, figures, Depth and critical analysis, Conclusions are adequately supported by literature, results and use of references.
    3. Use of evidence and argument - you are able to explain your position by using logical argument drawing on the theory presented in the unit.

    Further detailed assesssment criteria will be available with the assignment specification.

    Due date:
    Sunday 1 June 2014 11:55PM (end of Week 12)
    The details of the task and other requirements will be outlined in the assignment specification.


  • Examination 1
    3 hours
    Type (open/closed book):
    Closed book
    Electronic devices allowed in the exam:

Learning resources

Reading list

  • Graba J. (2006) An Introduction to Network Programming with Java, 2nd Edition, Springer [electronic resource]
  • Horstmann C.S., Cornell G. (2005) Core Java™ 2 Volume II - Advanced Features, 7th Edition, Prentice Hall [electronic resource]
  • Horstmann C.S. (2010) Big Java, 4th Edition, Wiley
  • Coulouris G., Dollimore J., Kindberg T., Blair G. (2012). Distributed Systems, Concepts and Design, 5th Edition, Addison-Wesley

Recommended Reading

  • Java SE 7 Tutorial. Online, accessible via http://docs.oracle.com/javase/tutorial/
  • Java EE 6 Tutorial. PDF document, available at http://docs.oracle.com/javaee/6/tutorial/doc/javaeetutorial6.pdf

Monash Library Unit Reading List (if applicable to the unit)

Faculty of Information Technology Style Guide

Feedback to you

Examination/other end-of-semester assessment feedback may take the form of feedback classes, provision of sample answers or other group feedback after official results have been published. Please check with your lecturer on the feedback provided and take advantage of this prior to requesting individual consultations with staff. If your unit has an examination, you may request to view your examination script booklet, see http://intranet.monash.edu.au/infotech/resources/students/procedures/request-to-view-exam-scripts.html

Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:

  • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
  • Graded assignments with comments
  • Interviews
  • Solutions to tutes, labs and assignments

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Assignment submission

It is a University requirement (http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/conduct/student-academic-integrity-managing-plagiarism-collusion-procedures.html) for students to submit an assignment coversheet for each assessment item. Faculty Assignment coversheets can be found at http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/forms/. Please check with your Lecturer on the submission method for your assignment coversheet (e.g. attach a file to the online assignment submission, hand-in a hard copy, or use an online quiz). Please note that it is your responsibility to retain copies of your assessments.

Online submission

If Electronic Submission has been approved for your unit, please submit your work via the learning system for this unit, which you can access via links in the my.monash portal.

Required Resources

Please check with your lecturer before purchasing any Required Resources. Limited copies of prescribed texts are available for you to borrow in the library, and prescribed software is available in student labs.

  • MySQL (download from www.mysql.com)
  • Java SE 7 (download from www.oracle.com)
  • Eclipse IDE with Android SDK (download from www.eclipse.org)

Other Information


Monash has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and to provide advice on how they might uphold them. You can find Monash’s Education Policies at: www.policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/academic/education/index.html

Key educational policies include:

Faculty resources and policies

Important student resources including Faculty policies are located at http://intranet.monash.edu.au/infotech/resources/students/

Graduate Attributes Policy

Student Charter

Student services

Monash University Library

Disability Liaison Unit

Students who have a disability or medical condition are welcome to contact the Disability Liaison Unit to discuss academic support services. Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) visit all Victorian campuses on a regular basis.

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