IS 651 Distributed Systems

Course Description

This course covers distributed computing architectures (emphasizing service-oriented architectures) and web services. You are assumed to have taken IS650 or equivalent, have an elementary knowledge of web technology, and have taken elementary object-oriented programming. A major focus of the course is on doing technical, hands-on exercises. We learn XML basics and XML Web Services in this course. We also take a technical look at server-side frameworks for web services. The first half of the course concentrates on architectures and the second half on implementation details.

The schedule shows all the book chapter, slide, exercise and homework. Each slides link consists of the lecture slides for that chapter/week. The exercise and homework links show a page with exercise, homework and references. The exercises are usually related to the homework. Both exercise and homework are team-based assignments. You should read the corresponding chapter before coming to class. Exercises and homework are subject to change prior to the class, so if you save files, recheck the web each week. We will standardize on the Chrome and Firefox browsers.

Because we are doing online instruction for fall 2020, we will use hybrid instruction. To help student-instructor interaction, most lectures will be done via WebEx based synchronous instruction. The synchronous WebEx-based lectures will also be recorded for students who cannot join the synchronous lecture. Students will work on the assigneents (exercises, homework, case-study) as a team to help student-student interaction. Students are also required to present their assignement in class to boost interaction and in-class discussion.

Contact Information



Grades are curved with the average total points being middle B, but the curve never exceeds a standard grading scale. This means, for example, that one always gets an A(-) for >=90%, B(+/-) for >=80%, etc. Plus/minus grading is used.

Academic integrity in the Online Instruction Environment

Academic integrity is an important value at UMBC. By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC’s scholarly community in which everyone’s academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong. Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal. These principles and policies apply in both face-to-face and online classes. Resources for students about academic integrity at UMBC are available at

Resources to Help you Succeed in Online Courses

Many students need additional support to succeed in online courses. Click on the following links for helpful resources: If you have a question, please contact the ASC at

Accessibility and Disability Accommodations, Guidance and Resources

Support services for students with disabilities are provided for all students qualified under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA & ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act who request and are eligible for accommodations. The Office of Student Disability Services (SDS) is the UMBC department designated to coordinate accommodations that would create equal access for students when barriers to participation exist in University courses, programs, or activities.

If you have a documented disability and need to request academic accommodations in your courses, please refer to the SDS website at for registration information and office procedures.

If you will be using SDS approved accommodations in this class, please contact me (instructor) to discuss implementation of the accommodations. During remote instruction requirements due to COVID, communication and flexibility will be essential for success.

Religious Observances

UMBC Policy provides that students should not be penalized because of observances of their religious beliefs, students shall be given an opportunity, whenever feasible, to make up within a reasonable time any academic assignment that is missed due to individual participation in religious observances. It is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor of any intended absences for religious observances in advance, and as early as possible. For questions please contact the Office of Equity and Inclusion at

Hate, Bias, Discrimination and Harassment

UMBC values safety, cultural and ethnic diversity, social responsibility, lifelong learning, equity, and civic engagement.

Consistent with these principles, UMBC Policy prohibits discrimination and harassment in its educational programs and activities or with respect to employment terms and conditions based on race, creed, color, religion, sex, gender, pregnancy, ancestry, age, gender identity or expression, national origin, veterans status, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or genetic information.

Students (and faculty and staff) who experience discrimination, harassment, hate or bias or who have such matters reported to them should use the online reporting form to report discrimination, hate or bias incidents; reporting may be anonymous.

Sex and Gender Based Violence, Harassment and Discrimination

Any student who is impacted by sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, sexual assault, sexual coercion, relationship violence, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, sexual intimidation, sex, gender-based stalking or retaliation or gender or pregnancy discrimination is encouraged to seek support and resources.

You can access support and resources even if you do not want to take any further action. You will not be forced to file a formal complaint or police report. Please be aware that the University may take action on its own if essential to protect the safety of the community.

As an instructor, I am considered a Responsible Employee, per UMBC's Policy on Prohibited Sexual Misconduct, Interpersonal Violence, and Other Related Misconduct, I am required to report disclosures of possible violations of the Policy to the Title IX Coordinator, even if the experience occurred before you attended UMBC.

While I want you to be able to share information related to your life experiences through discussion and written work, I also want you to understand that I must report Sexual Misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator so that the University can inform you of your rights, resources and support.

If you need to speak with someone in confidence, who does not have an obligation to report to the Title IX Coordinator, about an incident, UMBC has the following Confidential Resources available to support you: The Counseling Center: 410-455-2742; University Health Services: 410-455-2542; For after-hours emergency consultation, call 301-314-7651.

Other on-campus supports and resources>: The Women's Center (for students of all genders): 410-455-2714; Title IX Coordinator, 410- 455-1250.

Child Abuse and Neglect: Please note that Maryland law requires that I report all disclosures or suspicions of child abuse or neglect to the Department of Social Service and/or the police.


UMBC’s Sexual Misconduct, Interpersonal Violence, and Other Related Misconduct Policy expressly prohibits all forms of Discrimination and Harassment on the basis of sex, including pregnancy. Resources for pregnant students are available through the University’s Office of Equity and Inclusion.

In addition, students who are pregnant may be entitled to accommodations under the ADA through the Student Disability Service Office, and/or under Title IX through the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

UMBC Policies and Resources for Students during COVID-19

UMBC’s Vision Statement

Our UMBC community redefines excellence in higher education through an inclusive culture that connects innovative teaching and learning, research across disciplines, and civic engagement. We will advance knowledge, economic prosperity, and social justice by welcoming and inspiring inquisitive minds from all backgrounds.

Student Safety

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is understood that some students who are enrolled in classes that have an in-person component may have or develop COVID-19 related health concerns coming to campus to attend those classes this semester. No student shall be compelled to attend class or attend an assessment if they have COVID-19 related health concerns. However, for students enrolled in courses having a physical presence component who anticipate not being able to attend the in-person class sessions due to COVID-19 related health concerns, it is advisable to provide notice to the course instructor at the beginning of the term so that alternate arrangements can be made. Students enrolled in courses with an in-person component who develop COVID-19 related health concerns during the semester should immediately contact the course instructor to discuss alternative instructional arrangements.

Technology: Access, Requirements, Resources, Support

To help ensure that UMBC students are equipped for academic success, the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) provides a wealth of resources and support, including tips for getting online and minimum specifications to consider when purchasing a computer. UMBC does require all students to be technologically self-sufficient, which entails having a reliable personal computer (preferably a laptop with webcam) and Internet access. Since UMBC requires all students to have a computer and Internet access, financial aid may be used to meet this requirement. To learn more, students should contact their financial aid counselor at

COVID-19: Safety Expectations and Guidelines

Students enrolled in this course are expected to adhere to all UMBC policies, rules, and regulations, including COVID-19 emergency health and safety rules, policies, guidelines, and signage enacted for the UMBC community. For students attending in-person classes, signage, policies, rules, and/or guidelines may include but are not limited to specific requirements for face coverings, physical distancing, and sanitization, in addition to efforts to reduce density efforts that involve reductions in seating and room capacity. Please be aware that UMBC’s COVID-19 emergency health and safety rules, regulations, policies, guidelines, and/or signage are subject to change as our public health crisis evolves. Any violation will be subject to disciplinary action and may include but not limited to immediate dismissal from the classroom, removal from the classroom and/or campus, a requirement to work remotely, and/or sanctions and conditions enumerated in the UMBC Code of Student Conduct that may entail suspension or expulsion from UMBC.

UMBC’s Vision Statement

Our UMBC community redefines excellence in higher education through an inclusive culture that connects innovative teaching and learning, research across disciplines, and civic engagement. We will advance knowledge, economic prosperity, and social justice by welcoming and inspiring inquisitive minds from all backgrounds.

UMBC’s Vision Statement

Our UMBC community redefines excellence in higher education through an inclusive culture that connects innovative teaching and learning, research across disciplines, and civic engagement. We will advance knowledge, economic prosperity, and social justice by welcoming and inspiring inquisitive minds from all backgrounds.


Note: Unless otherwise stated, exercise and homework are due on following Wednesday.

WeekClass DateTopicBook ChaptersSlidesNotesExercise and Homework
209/03Evolution of IT ArchitecturesChapter2Chapter2Chapter2Ex2 and Hw1
309/10Web TechnologiesChapter3Chapter3Chapter3Ex3
409/17SOAPChapter4Chapter4Chapter4Ex4 and Hw2
509/24WSDL and WS-*Chapter5, 6Chapter5, 6Chapter5, 6Ex5 and Hw3
610/01REST Web ServicesChapter7Chapter7Chapter7Ex6 and Hw4
710/08Exam1nothing due
810/15Distributed System BasicsChapter8Chapter8Chapter8Ex7
910/22Web FrameworksChapter9Chapter9Chapter9Ex8 and Hw5
1010/29SOAP revisitedChapter10Chapter10Chapter10Ex9 and Hw6
1111/05REST revisitedChapter11Chapter11Chapter11Ex10 and Hw7
1211/12Semantic Web and Cloud ComputingChapter12, 13Chapter12, 13Chapter12Ex11
1311/19Exam 2nothing due
1411/26XNo ClassThanksgivingnothing due
1512/03Project Presentationnothing due