COIT20257 - Distributed Systems: Principles and Development

General Information

Unit Synopsis

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.


Level Postgraduate
Unit Level Not Applicable
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band 2
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Prerequisite unit: COIT20256 Data structures and Algorithms

Anti-Requisite unit: COIT23005 Distributed Systems

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 1 - 2019

Term 1 - 2019 Profile
Term 2 - 2019 Profile
Term 3 - 2019 Profile

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).

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.

Assessment Tasks

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

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 Procedures for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 1 - 2018 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 4.1 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 40% response rate.

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.

Source: Self-reflection and teaching evaluation.
Timely response to students' questions.
Request and continuously remind the teaching team of prompt and constructive response or feedback to students' questions.
Action Taken
Source: Unit Evaluation
The assignments give practical knowledge and it is good to replace the examination with another assignment.
The feedback is reasonable and the unit can have three assignments.
Action Taken
Assignments were amended to three and no exam.
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

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 Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 - Practical Assessment
2 - Practical Assessment
3 - Written Assessment
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
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
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 - Practical Assessment
2 - Practical Assessment
3 - Written Assessment