The Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium

The Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium is a regular, weekly colloquium associated with the Stanford Department Electical Engineering Department and Computer Systems Laboratory.

Every Wednesday afternoon during the academic year, a guest lecturer examines some topic on current research and developments in computer systems. Speakers are drawn from industry, government, research, and educational institutions around the world. The topics touch upon all aspects of computer science and engineering including logic design, computer organization and architecture, software engineering, computer applications of all sorts, public policy, and the social, business, and financial implications of technology. Frequently the Colloquium provides the first public forum for discussion of new products, discoveries, or ideas. Over the course of an academic quarter, ten lectures are presented.

The Colloquium is a public lecture, given before a live audience and open to anyone. In the unlikely event of a room overflow, enrolled students have seating priority. When necessary, we arrange for overflow rooms and patch in a video.

Colloquium lectures are webcast live and archived for on-demand viewing over the web.

Occasionally, the webcast material may differ from the material presented live: sometimes material will be elided from the webcast material or remote viewers will see a rerun rather than the current lecture. This occurs when the material being presented is considered proprietary by the speaker and the speaker does not want the materials to be webcast. We try to preannounce when this is a possibility.

EE380 Class Particulars

EE380 is offered as a one credit, S/NC course. Students may take EE380 for credit as many times as they wish. During the regular academic year, the lecture program is live and topics vary. In the summer, the course consists of summer reruns , video lectures of a selection of the best EE380 lectures from the previous year plus a number of "oldies but goodies" in a self-paced, self-selected format delivered over the web.

To receive credit for EE380 you must:

  1. Attend or view each of the ten lectures. EE380 lectures are given live during the regular academic year. You can attend the lectures in person; or you can watch them live on the web; or you can watch them on demand over the web; or you can watch them on one of the alternative distribution sites (YouTube and iTunes, for example).

    If you take classes on-campus, we recommend that you attend the Colloquium lectures in person. We believe that there is a significant difference between attending a live lecture and watching a video and we don't want you to miss out. Speakers spend significant time and effort to prepare their talks and feel somewhat cheated is there is only a small live audience. Explaining that the audience is out there in cyberspace doesn't make them feel appreciated. And, if you are there in person, you can ask questions and make comments.

  2. Submit a short, pithy commentary on each lecture via the class Web page. Please try to submit your commentary within the two weeks followings the presentation while the details are still fresh in your mind. Procrastination is not a good strategy. Your comments may be shared anonymously with the speaker and others, so check your grammar and spelling.

    Commentaries need only be a few sentences long and should contain enough information to show that you listened to what the speaker presented, evaluated what was said, and reached some conclusion or opinion about it. It is not adequate to say the "talk was interesting" or that the "talk was boring and put me to sleep".

    Please do not "take notes" and then write them up everything at the end of the quarter. Likewise, if you are taking the class by video, please do not binge view the lectures at the last minute. Please send in assignments incrementally over the course of the quarter.

    To submit an assignment, click on the animated "thumbs-up/thumbs-down" icon at the end of the speaker's abstract in the schedule, fill in the form, and click the submit button. To submit an assignment you must have a SUNet ID (or a leland account); if you have not been authenticated, the Leland server will ask you for your name and password. Students in past quarters have found it helpful to keep copies their assignments.

  3. Behave. Arrive on time and do not leave early. Coming in late or leaving early is discourteous to the speaker and disruptive to the class. Please show consideration! The instructors reserve the right to embarrass anyone who does not show appropriate courtesy and to require additional work of students who leave early or arrive late.

  4. Interact with the speaker. Ask questions. Most presentations are improved when the audience does more than sit and listen.

  5. Complete a Course Evaluation form. Toward the end of the quarter we post a class evaluation form, derived from the TBP survey form, that allows you to register your opinions about the class anonymously.

  6. Do the Assignments. An "Incomplete" grade will be given only in exceptional circumstances and then only by prior arrangement. The deadline for assignment submission is normally the last day of finals for the quarter. Late assignments will be considered at the whim of the instructors. If you miss a lecture for whatever reason, youx must still view the video and complete a commentary.

If you have a problem, consult with an instructor as soon as possible rather than waiting until grade time. Instructors are best reached by electronic mail.

Class Location

During Fall 2011-2012, EE380 will be meeting in Skilling Auditorium on the Stanford Campus. See the individual talk abstract in the lecture schedule for the current room. Enter at the lecture hall entrance (the one on the corner of the building), go down the stairs, and go to the left or right. During the summer, class meets in cyberspace.

The campus map will help you locate Skilling Auditorium and suitable parking. All parking on campus is controlled. The two parking structures near Skilling both have pay parking stalls (bring quarters, parking meters take a handful!). Parking in the A section of some of parking structures is free after 4 PM.

EE380 On The Web

Class schedules and other information about EE380 are available at the class web site,

EE380 lectures are available on demand over the Internet via links on the Colloquium website ( and through Stanford SCPD. Access to EE380 lectures is few clicks away.

On demand lectures are usually available an hour or so after the lecture finishes, but occasionally may not be available for four to six hours. Access to the videos is free. If you access the videos through SCPD, they may gather some marketing information, but there is no charge.

The class lectures in Windows Media Player format and require an appropriate player. Players for Wintel PCs, MACs, and Solaris. Linux users (x86 only) can use any of several players with a suitable codec. (Click for details.) Efforts to provide the video in open formats suitable for open source players have, to date, been unsuccessful.

E-Mail Notices

Announcements of EE380 lectures are posted to several announcement lists including the colloq mailing list at Stanford. This mailing list distributes a wide variety of announcement to the Stanford Community. To join the list, send a request from the account you want to receive the announcements to From this list you will receive Stanford announcements, To receive other local (Bay Area) but non-Stanford announcements send a similar message to

We also maintain our own, private email list. To subscribe or unsubscribe from the list, use the form on the upper left hand corner of the webpage. Follow the link below the form to get to fully featured forms.

Problems submitting assignments.

Always read the diagnostic screen when an assignment is rejected. A number of checks are run to ensure the submission is complete. In particular, the speaker's last name must appear and be spelled and capitalized correctly.

SUNet authentication is used to match your name to your assignments so proper credit can be given. Authentication depends on the ability of your browser to store a cookie; if you have cookies turned off, your assignment won't be properly registered but there will be no diagnostic message (we're working on fixing that). You will be asked to authenticate a second time, however.

The grading system uses authentication to associate your SUNet name with your true name (or, rather, what the University thinks is your true name). Simple as it seems, there can be problems. If you submit an assignment and the name and/or email reported back is not present, you probably have set the privacy level too high on your AXESS account. You will need to lower your privacy level setting enough to the grading system to know your real name.

There are occasional problems with the authorization systems. Your browser must accept cookies and handle SSL transactions. For further information check the Stanford Web Authentication Web Page for more information and helpful hints.

For information or assistance with your SUNet ID please contact Customer Assistance, phone +1 (650) 725-8181. You can send them e-mail at . For SU Net ID problems heck the SUNet ID Web Page .

Bugs and Typos

If you encounter any bugs in the system, discover typos or grammatical boffos in this or other documents, please
let us know, so we can repair things.

Contacting the Instructors

The class is organized by Dennis Allison and Andy Freeman.

From time to time, other staff members may host the colloquium, but questions and problems should always be addressed to Mr. Allison or Mr. Freeman.

Contact Dennis Allison