Algorithms and Complexity

(Theory of) Distributed Systems
Graduate Course - Summer Term 2024
Fabian Kuhn


Course description

The course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of distributed systems and algorithms. The course will in particular cover the following topics:

  • distributed systems models
  • time and global states in distributed systems
  • sychronous and asynchronous systems
  • fault tolerance
  • basic distributed algorithms for coordination and agreement tasks
  • basic distributed network algorithms
  • distributed and parallel graph algorithms
  • impossibility results and lower bounds


  • Lecture: Monday 14:15 - 16:00, building 101, SR 01-009/13
  • Exercise Tutorial: Wednesday 12:15 - 14:00, building 101, SR 01-009/13

For offline questions and discussions regarding the lecture and the exercises, we use Zulip as a discussion forum. Information on how to get access to our Zulip server can be found in the technical section below.


There will be no lecture on Monday, 15.04.2024. Instead, we will do a lecture on Wednesday, 17.04.2024 at 12:15 in building 101, SR 01-009/13.

Lecture Material

All material regarding the lecture (literature, slides, videos, etc.) are available on the lecture materials web page of the course. In order to limit access to this material, this page is only visible from within the university network (i.e., use VPN to access the page from home).


Below you find the weekly exercise sheet that we will solve in class. Details on how to hand in your exercise solutions, in case you want feedback, is found in the technical section below.

Exercise Assigned Due (12 pm) Solution

Exercise 01 17.04.2024 24.04.2024 Solution 01
Exercise 02 24.04.2024 08.05.2024 Solution 02
Exercise 03 01.05.2024 15.05.2024 Solution 03
Exercise 04 08.05.2024 27.05.2024

Technical Information

Data Access Zulip

The link on how to access get access to our Zulip server is available here. Note that the information is only visible from within the university network (i.e., use VPN to access the page from home or access the internet via the university eduroam)

Exercise Submission

  • The exercises are not mandatory, but it is highly encouraged to solve them.
  • You can work in groups of at most 4 and submit the solution by the assigned deadline for feedback.
  • The way to submit the exercises is via Daphne. Please click on this link to register for the course with your rz-account.

    After registration, a SVN repository will be created for you with an URL of the following form:


    You should do a "checkout" of your SVN-repository (using the URL described above) to get a local copy on your pc. With the command "update" you synchronize your local copy with the current version on the server. Through the command "commit" you upload your local files to your repository on the server. A more detailed overview can be found here. There are different subversion clients you can use. For Windows Tortoise-SVN is recommended.

    Note that every solution of an exercise sheet must be uploaded ("committed") to a separate folder named exercise-XY, where XY is the exercise number (with a leading 0 if smaller than 10). This folder will be automatically locked (that is, no commits are possible anymore) after the submission deadline!


Some of the content is for example covered by the following books:

  • Distributed Computing: Fundamentals, Simulations and Advanced Topics
    Hagit Attiya, Jennifer Welch.
    McGraw-Hill Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0-07-709352 6
  • Distributed Computing: A Locality-Sensitive Approach
    David Peleg.
    Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), 2000, ISBN 0-89871-464-8
  • Additional literature for each chapter will be provided where available.