CQUniversity Unit Profile
COIT20257 Distributed Systems: Principles and Development
Distributed Systems: Principles and Development
All details in this unit profile for COIT20257 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student).
The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.
General Information


Distributed Systems: Principles and Development you will learn basic principles of distributed systems including architecture, design, and algorithms and how to use these principles in the development of distributed applications. You will explore the significant distributed system characteristics of scalability, heterogeneity, security, and failure handling in addition to the fundamentals of networking, inter-process communication, remote invocation, and operating system support. You will examine different approaches to supporting distributed applications including distributed objects, web services, and peer-to-peer solutions. You will learn about distributed file systems, naming, and data-related aspects of distributed transactions, and data replication. Algorithms associated to timing, and coordination and agreement will also be studied. You will also analyse the areas of mobile and ubiquitous computing and the social impact arising from the ubiquity of distributed systems. You will consolidate the key theoretical material through the computer lab tutorial sessions and development of software applications.


Career Level: Postgraduate
Unit Level: Level 9
Credit Points: 6
Student Contribution Band: 8
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load: 0.125

Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Prerequisite unit: COIT20256 Data structures and AlgorithmsAnti-Requisite unit: COIT23005 Distributed Systems

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Offerings For Term 3 - 2022


Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Class and Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Postgraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Bundaberg, Cairns, Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville
Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney

Assessment Overview

1. Practical Assessment
Weighting: 30%
2. Practical Assessment
Weighting: 35%
3. Written Assessment
Weighting: 35%

Assessment Grading

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades.

Previous Student Feedback

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback from Coordinator reflection


Students cover the concepts of distributed system security, but do not get sufficient programming practice


Introduce programming components for digital certificate and symmetric and asymmetric encryption; enhance distributed system security by developing a secured distributed system for assessment.

Feedback from Coordinator reflection


Not enough depth in concurrency control, so difficult for students to apply


Introduce more programming components e.g. thread safety and synchronisation to apply concurrency control to cope with data inconsistency problems for constructing distributed systems.

Unit Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Develop distributed applications using networking, inter-process communication, and remote invocation
  2. Design and develop distributed applications using one of the approaches of distributed objects, web services, and peer-to-peer solutions
  3. Solve problems in the distributed systems domain by applying the principles of distributed systems to authentic problems
  4. Critique the issues involved in developing reliable, secure, and scalable distributed systems
  5. Discuss the technology needs and social impact arising from ubiquitous distributed systems
  6. Work independently and collaboratively in small teams.

Australian Computer Society (ACS) recognises the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA). SFIA is in use in over 100 countries and provides a widely used and consistent definition of ICT skills. SFIA is increasingly being used when developing job descriptions and role profiles.

ACS members can use the tool MySFIA to build a skills profile at https://www.acs.org.au/professionalrecognition/mysfia-b2c.html

This unit contributes to the following workplace skills as defined by SFIA. The SFIA code is included:

  • Systems Design (DESN)
  • Systems Integration (SINT)
  • Program ming/Software Development ( PROG),
  • Database/Repository Design (DBDS)
  • Testing (TEST)
  • Network Support (NTAS)
  • Release and Deployment (RELM),
  • Application Support (ASUP).

Alignment of Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Graduate Attributes
N/A Level
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Professional Level
Advanced Level

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 - Practical Assessment - 30%
2 - Practical Assessment - 35%
3 - Written Assessment - 35%

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 - Knowledge
2 - Communication
3 - Cognitive, technical and creative skills
4 - Research
5 - Self-management
6 - Ethical and Professional Responsibility
7 - Leadership
8 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 - Practical Assessment - 30%
2 - Practical Assessment - 35%
3 - Written Assessment - 35%
Textbooks and Resources



Distributed Systems Concepts and Design

Edition: 5 (2012)
Authors: George Coulouris,Jean Dollimore, Tim Kindberg and Gordon Blair
Pearson Education
Gordon Blair Gordon Blair , UK
ISBN: 13: 9780137521081
Binding: Paperback

Additional Textbook Information

You can read this book online from the library. If you prefer to study from a paper copy, they are available at the CQUni Bookshop here: http://bookshop.cqu.edu.au
(search on the Unit code)

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
  • Jakarta EE 8 (available from https://jakarta.ee/release/8/)
  • JDK 17 (available from https://www.oracle.com/java/technologies/downloads/#java17)
  • Apache NetBeans IDE 12.5 or higher (https://netbeans.apache.org/download/index.html)
  • MySQL Community Server 8.06 or higher (https://dev.mysql.com/downloads/windows/installer/8.0.html)
  • Apache Tomee 8.0 TomEE Plus (available from https://tomee.apache.org/download.html#tomee-8.0)
Academic Integrity Statement

As a CQUniversity student you are expected to act honestly in all aspects of your academic work.

Any assessable work undertaken or submitted for review or assessment must be your own work. Assessable work is any type of work you do to meet the assessment requirements in the unit, including draft work submitted for review and feedback and final work to be assessed.

When you use the ideas, words or data of others in your assessment, you must thoroughly and clearly acknowledge the source of this information by using the correct referencing style for your unit. Using others’ work without proper acknowledgement may be considered a form of intellectual dishonesty.

Participating honestly, respectfully, responsibly, and fairly in your university study ensures the CQUniversity qualification you earn will be valued as a true indication of your individual academic achievement and will continue to receive the respect and recognition it deserves.

As a student, you are responsible for reading and following CQUniversity’s policies, including the Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure. This policy sets out CQUniversity’s expectations of you to act with integrity, examples of academic integrity breaches to avoid, the processes used to address alleged breaches of academic integrity, and potential penalties.

What is a breach of academic integrity?

A breach of academic integrity includes but is not limited to plagiarism, self-plagiarism, collusion, cheating, contract cheating, and academic misconduct. The Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure defines what these terms mean and gives examples.

Why is academic integrity important?

A breach of academic integrity may result in one or more penalties, including suspension or even expulsion from the University. It can also have negative implications for student visas and future enrolment at CQUniversity or elsewhere. Students who engage in contract cheating also risk being blackmailed by contract cheating services.

Where can I get assistance?

For academic advice and guidance, the Academic Learning Centre (ALC) can support you in becoming confident in completing assessments with integrity and of high standard.

What can you do to act with integrity?