CS681: Performance Evaluation of Computer Systems and Networks

Spring 2018 (Jan-Apr 2018)


We will use Piazza for ALL course related communication, discussion, and for homework and practice questions. Sign up for Piazza.


Goal of the Course

Comprehensive introduction to the practical methods and theory required to carry out rigorous and sound performance analysis of computer systems and networks. Students will learn the three main methods of performance analysis: measurement, discrete event simulation, and analytical modeling through case studies and hands-on assignments.

The case studies planned are listed here, along with the analysis methods that they will use. The basics (theory and introduction to any tools required) of each method will be covered as part of the case study itself.


  • Case Study 1: Web server. Measurement and Analytical. (4 weeks). Specific skills, methodologies, and theories covered:

    • Server performance measurement in Linux environments

    • Use of Web load generator tools

    • Correlating client and server measurement, generation sensible plots.

    • Analyzing, interpreting and concluding from performance graphs.

    • Queueing systems - Open and Closed. Operational Laws, Little’s Law, MVA. Queueing networks.

All this learnt through a combination of Web server performance measurement assignment, discussion and teaching in class, analytical modeling homework, and finally comparing analytical vs measurement


  • Case Study 2: WiFi  Performance.  Simulation, Analytical (3 weeks).  Specific skills, methodologies, and theories covered:

    • Probability Distributions, DTMCs (Pre-reqs for advanced models of WiFi performance)

    • Writing Discrete Event Simulation programs from scratch

    • Statistically sound analysis of simulation results (dealing with transient, confidence intervals, etc)

All this learnt through a combination of simulation programming assignment, discussion and teaching in class, analytical modeling paper study, and finally comparing analytical vs measurement.


  • Case Study 3: Virtualization (Xen Credit Scheduler): Simulation, Analytical. (3 weeks) Specific skills, methodologies, and theories covered.

    • Continued honing of Discrete event Simulation. CTMCs for advanced modeling

  • Case Study 4: Power-managed devices, clouds, etc. Analytical Modeling.

    • Reinforcing and further application of CTMCs and DTMCs.

Evaluation Scheme

Evaluation Weight (TENTATIVE - MAY CHANGE )
Quiz 1  8
Web Server Performance Measurement Assignment 15
Midsem 12
 Discrete Event Simulation Assignment 15
Quiz 2  10
End Sem 30
Participation 10


Participation is encouraged (required) from students taking this course. You should engage in classroom discussions, and post questions and answers on Piazza. Both in-class participation and online Piazza participation will be counted in this component. However, more active online participation can make up to a certain extend for low offline participation, and vice versa (however, heavy online participation will not make up for extremely poor attendance).


The DX grade will not be awarded in this course. Instead,  attendance will impact your participation marks, and low attendance will result in the loss of certain "privileges". The reasoning behing this is that certain privileges are only available to those registrants who actually develop a student-teacher relationship with me, rather than "examinee-examiner" relationship. 

Low attendance will result in the following:

  • You cannot meet me for cribs or doubts, unless I call you for a meeting.  Cribs will have to resolved by communicating with the TA (through Piazza), face-to-face time with the TA is also not guaranteed.
  • You cannot ask a doubt to me or any TA/invigilator during any exam. You will only hear correction announcements if any.
  • For any course related communication, you have to interact only by communicating with the TA (through Piazza). 
  • If any assignment has an oral viva, yours may be converted to a written one, invigilated by the TA.
  • Any other reasonable loss of privileges not mentioned here.

In short, if you do not attend, we will operate in a mode consistent with "distance education" or "only exam administration and evaluation" (e.g. when you do JEE, GATE, etc).

Course TA

Anshu Yadav (anshuyadav@cse.iitb.ac.in)