Distributed system exams

Last week was the finals week at UB. I gave my final exam on distributed systems on Monday.

Many factors go into designing the exam. In a written exam, especially when you have a large class (mine was 75 students), you have to consider the ease of reading/grading the questions. So instead of asking open ended questions, I ask short answer questions such that the space provided under each question is enough to give complete answers. Secondly, since it is impossible to cover everything the course taught, I try to hit the salient points. Finally, I make sure that I ask sufficient number of straightforward questions so that the students that did a decent job of following the course and studying can get about 70 points out 100.

This link shows the final with solutions. I solve the final during the exam while my two TAs and occasionally I proctor the exam.

And this link shows the midterm I gave earlier in the semester. Note the Paxos question, question # 4. I tried to keep the question brief and concrete. A student that understands the Paxos protocol can answer easily, but a student that memorized some facts about Paxos without fully understanding it will not be able to solve 4.3 and 4.4.


Popular posts from this blog

I have seen things

SOSP19 File Systems Unfit as Distributed Storage Backends: Lessons from 10 Years of Ceph Evolution

PigPaxos: Devouring the communication bottlenecks in distributed consensus

Frugal computing

Learning about distributed systems: where to start?

Fine-Grained Replicated State Machines for a Cluster Storage System

My Distributed Systems Seminar's reading list for Spring 2020

Cross-chain Deals and Adversarial Commerce

Book review. Tiny Habits (2020)

Zoom Distributed Systems Reading Group