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The professor is definitely a good person, who is always trying to help us and support us, but not necessarily the class . I have never seen such a harsh grading on a 188 class, ppl who GitHub every project can get good grades, but if you really working hard to achieve something, you probably won't be treated fairly in this class. One Ta was amazing and my favorite TA so far, the other was the exact opposite who is the worst TA I have ever seen, who is gonna be a professor in some school soon, such a pity, why he needs to be a professor ? to educate ppl to be mean and selfish ? I actually developed a personal dislike toward that racist and bias person, we don't need ppl like him in our world, we are still humans. This class ruined my plan to go to grad school through the special program, now I have to leave the country and wait for one more year to apply for grad school. Biggest mistake I made was probably not Githubbing everything and playing the "game". Again, the professor is an amazing person, I have a lot of respect for him, but not the class overall.
The final project asks you to implement a fault-tolerant, highly available sharded key-value server in Golang. I felt an immense sense of accomplishment upon finishing it; I felt like I had really learned something valuable about the complexity of real-world systems and the tradeoffs made by distributed systems designers. Plus, I learned a new language.
The final project built off of an earlier one where you implement a fault-tolerant parliament of servers providing a distributed service on the Paxos protocol. This just added to the sense that the entire class has you work on and build up to the grand final project. I could see myself referring back to these projects (even the earlier ones) when I need a refresher on how these things work.
Being the first iteration of this class, I felt that it was reasonable that some of the slides did not present the material in the best way possible. There was at times some ambiguity with the concepts, and some of the examples could be better constructed. I believe that with some updates, Ravi's Distributed Systems class could be a solid mainstay in the UCLA CS curriculum.
He is very easy-going and very approachable, he is a really good communicator, he was very generous with our exam grades, and he gave us the majority test cases so we can be sure that we are doing the project correctly.
I found the class extremely engaging, and thought that the professor not only did a great job introducing us to and providing a strong foundation in a highly relevant subject not normally offered at UCLA, but also helped make the course materials more applicable to industry by introducing numerous case studies into the curriculum. Professor Netravali also provided slides with several example problems for each subject taught during lecture which he explained in detail, and he was always willing to answer questions during and after class, as well as during office hours.
The projects, while time consuming, were very manageable if you started early (we got two weeks per project on average) and provided you the chance to get your hands dirty implementing the protocols discussed in class which definitely helped my understanding of some of the algorithms, and gave my partner and me some really good talking points for technical interviews. The entire teaching staff was very proactive in answering questions on Piazza so communication with the class was clear. My TA was amazing and made discussion section really helpful, she even met me on her own time to help me fix issues with my laptop which were preventing me from doing the projects.
All in all, definitely the most fun I've had in a CS class at UCLA and I would recommend this class to anyone interested in the field. Enjoyable projects, entertaining lectures, and very fair grading definitely make this class worth taking. Professor Netravali is a great teacher and is one of the most concise, easy to talk to professors I've taken a class with at UCLA, regardless of department or subject.
No it's not a free A.
In fact, it's not really GitHub-able.
I went through the class without cheating, together with my partner. Through discussing, learning and thinking as a pair. It's very reasonable.
We spent ungodly hours perfecting our projects, but we would have gotten an A with just 5 hours of work per week per person, if a simple A was our goal.
If you're not intelligent enough or a good fit academically for grad school, then maybe it's your fault. If you don't participate in class and ask questions and engage with the material, that's your fault. If maybe coding is just not your thing, that's your fault or the universe's fault. Maybe distributed systems is not a good fit with your brain wiring. Either way, don't blame the teacher for being fair and educative with his tests and assignments.
Ravi is one of the better teachers at UCLA. Yes, that's not saying a whole lot, but he's definitely at least good, if not great. Even compared to my mostly excellent highschool teachers.
I'm about to graduate. Distributed Systems has been my favorite class at UCLA.