Tufts COMP 117 (Spring 2019):
Internet-scale Distributed Systems

Cross-cutting Issues*:
Principles, Guidelines and Bits of Wisdom

The fundamental goal of COMP 117 is to uncover and explore a variety of principles, guidelines, and other useful insights relating to computer systems in general, and to large-scale distributed systems in particular. As we encounter each one, a brief entry will be recorded here. The entries below will be grouped into major themes, but in many cases the most important principles are indeed cross-cutting, in that they impact many facets of system architecture simultaneously.

Some of the items listed below are well understood fundamentals of good system design. Others are controversial and remain the subject of debate in the system design community.

* The term cross-cutting issues is lifted from one of the best textbooks ever written on computer hardware architecture: Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, by John Hennessy and David Patterson. That book has sections throughout discussing cross-cutting issues relating to hardware design. For anyone who wants to do some self-study on hardware architecture, the book is highly recommended!

Copyright 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, & 2018 — Noah Mendelsohn & Tufts University