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Networks Illustrated Principles without Calculus

Course Summary

This course serves as an introduction to the basic principles that govern all aspects of our networked lives. We will learn about companies like Google and technologies like the Internet in a way that requires no mathematics beyond basic algebra.

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    Course Syllabus

    The following 11 topics (one per lecture) will be covered during this course:

    1. How does your cell phone decide what power to transmit?
    2. Why is WiFi slower at a hotspot?
    3. How does Google rank webpages?
    4. When can you trust an average rating on Amazon?
    5. How does Netflix recommend movies?
    6. Why do certain videos go viral on YouTube?
    7. How are people influenced on Facebook and Twitter?
    8. Why do Verizon and AT&T charge you $10 for every GB of data you use?
    9. How does traffic get through the Internet?
    10. Why doesn't congestion cause the Internet to collapse?
    11. Can you really reach anyone in six steps?

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    Recommended Background

    No prerequisites.

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    Course Format

    We will present two lectures per week, about 60 minutes each. Each lecture is edited into short segments with embedded quizzes that will allow you to check your understanding of the material.  There will also be weekly homework assignments, a midterm, and a final.

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    Suggested Reading

    C. Brinton and M. Chiang, Networks Illustrated: 8 Principles without Calculus. Available on Amazon here.

Course Fee:

Course Type:


Course Status:



1 - 4 hours / week

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