Computer Science (COMP) 489

Distributed Computing (Revision 3)

COMP 489

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online. COMP 489 is offered by computer-mediated communications (CMC), and can be completed wherever the student has access to a computer and the Internet.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: (COMP 347 or COMP 348) and (COMP 272 or COMP 308).

Faculty: Faculty of Science and Technology

Centre: School of Computing and Information Systems

COMP 489 is not available for challenge.

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**Note: Students who are concerned about not meeting the prerequisites for this course are encouraged to contact the course coordinator before registering


COMP 489 is designed to teach students the principles and practices of programming in Java for networks, internetworks, and distributed systems.


  • Unit 0: Setting up Your Development Environment
  • Unit 1: Introduction to Distributed Systems
  • Unit 2: Developing Distributed Applications in Java
  • Unit 3: Thread, Process, and IPC
  • Unit 4: Networking in Java
  • Unit 5: Concurrency Control
  • Unit 6: Distributed Objects and Object-based Systems
  • Unit 7: Distributed Databases and the Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) API
  • Unit 8: Distributed Security and Java Security
  • Unit 9: Web Services

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to

  • analyze the essential features and reference model in distributed systems.
  • identify the capacity requirements for distributed systems.
  • design distributed application models in object-oriented approaches.
  • write multi-threaded programs in Java.
  • apply concurrency control and mutual exclusion mechanisms to programs.
  • write code using Java networking packages in distributed applications.
  • write code to access to relational database systems using JDBC API.
  • examine the security issues in distributed application and write code using Java Security API.
  • implement an integrated distributed application in a Java environment.


To receive credit for COMP 489, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent), including an average grade of 50 percent on all coursework and at least 50 percent on the final examination.

The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 15%
Assignment 2 20%
Assignment 3 20%
Quiz 5%
Final Exam 40%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

Readings for this course will be taken from Internet sources, including Wikipedia, e-books, Sun Java tutorials, etc.

The rest of the learning materials for COMP 489 are distributed in electronic format. These materials include:

  • a Study Guide.
  • detailed instructions for individual tutor-marked assignments.
  • a course evaluation form.

Other Course Features

This course is a prerequisite to COMP 495/COMP 496 CIS projects course. It will provide the student with some guided individual work prior to the student taking on a more independent project(s) course.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, May 25, 2011.

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