Cloud Computing Concepts

Learn core distributed computing concepts that underlie today’s and tomorrow’s cloud computing systems.

About The Course

Cloud Computing systems today, whether open-source or used inside companies, are built using a common set of core techniques, algorithms, and design philosophies—all centered around distributed systems. Learn about such fundamental distributed computing "concepts" for cloud computing.

Some of these concepts include:

  • clouds, mapreduce, key-value stores
  • classical precursors
  • widely-used algorithms
  • classical algorithms
  • scalability
  • trending areas
  • and more!

You will also watch interviews with leading managers and researchers, from both industry and academia.

Understand how these techniques work inside today’s most widely-used cloud computing systems. Get your hands dirty using these concepts with provided homework exercises. In the optional programming track, implement some of these concepts in template assignments provided in C programming language.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does this course fit into the Cloud Computing Specialization?

This is the first course in the track.



Illinois is a world leader in research, teaching and public engagement, distinguished by the breadth of our programs, broad academic excellence, and internationally renowned faculty.

Recommended Background

This course assumes some basic knowledge of working computer systems. This course is generally oriented towards either graduate students (or senior undergraduates) or developers in industry who are working with cloud computing systems. Some familiarity with cloud computing systems helps, but is not a prerequisite. In the programming assignments track, familiarity with C programming language is required.

This course does not teach you how to use cloud computing systems, or about networking, or about Big Data. If we were to draw an analogy, if this course were about cars, then it would teach you the physics relating to the internals of the car (e.g., friction, transmission, gears), and basics about the internals of the car (e.g., about the carburetor, engine, etc.). The course would not, however, teach you how to drive a car, or about automobile accident statistics, or about how roads are built.

Take this course if you’re curious about cloud computing systems. Do not take this course if you know nothing about computers or computer science.