6.824 - Spring 2017

General Information

Structure // Grading policy // Staff // Office Hours // Acknowledgements //


6.824 is a core graduate subject with lectures, labs, an optional project, a mid-term exam, and a final exam. 6.824 is 12 units. 6 EDPs.

Class meets TR1-2:30 in 54-100. Most class meetings will be part lecture and part 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 the beginning of class. 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 give feedback, but we will glance at your answers to make sure they make sense, and they will count for part of the paper discussion grade. For each lecture you must also submit your own question about the paper.

6.824 will have a midterm exam during the ordinary leture time, and a final exam during finals week. There will be no alternate conflict time for the midterm exam.

There are programming labs due every week or two throughout the term. These labs are to be done by students individually.

Towards the end of the term you can choose between doing a final project based on your own ideas or doing Lab 4. If you want to pursue your own idea, you must form a team of two or three people, the project must involve ideas covered in 6.824, and we must approve it. You'll hand in a short project proposal, and, if we approve, you'll design and build a system; at the end of the term you'll hand in a summary of your results and do a short presentation and demo in class.

To do well in 6.824, you should already be familiar with computer systems to the level of 6.033 and 6.004, and you should be good at debugging, implementing, and designing software, perhaps as a result of taking programming-intensive courses such as 6.828 and 6.035.


Final course grades will be based on:

Historically 6.824 has required lots of work, but students do well: in 2016 69 out of 94 students received an A- or higher.

In order to help you cope with unexpected emergencies, you can hand in your lab solutions late, but the total amount of lateness summed over all the deadlines must not exceed 72 hours. If you don't hand in an assignment by the last day of classes, we'll give the assignment an F. If you hand an assignment in late, and your total late time (including the late time for that assignment) exceeds 72 hours, and you hand it in by the last day of classes, then we'll give it a D or an F depending on whether it seems to basically work. You can divide up your 72 hours among the labs however you like; you don't have to ask or tell us. You can only use the 72 hours for the labs; for example, you are not allowed to use late hours for any aspect of the project. If you want an exception to these rules, please ask S3 to send us an excuse note.

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 assignment. 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.

Please do not publish your code or make it available to current or future 6.824 students. github.com repositories are public by default, so please don't put your code there unless you make the repository private. You may find it convenient to use MIT's GitHub, but be sure to create a private repository.

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.


Please use the mailing list (6824-staff@lists.csail.mit.edu) to send questions or comments about the course to the staff.

Robert Morris 32-G972
Frans Kaashoek 32-G992
Teaching assistants
Lara Araujo
Anish Athalye
Srivatsa Bhat
Daniel Ziegler

Office hours

Day Time Location TA
Monday 3pm-5pm 32-G9 lounge Srivatsa
Tuesday 10am-12pm 32-G9 lounge Lara
Wednesday 4pm-6pm 32-G9 lounge Anish
Thursday 4pm-6pm 32-G9 lounge Daniel


Frans Kaashoek and Nickolai Zeldovich developed much of the 6.824 course material.

Questions or comments regarding 6.824? Send e-mail to 6824-staff@lists.csail.mit.edu.

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