CS542 Course Syllabus - Fall 2012
Elke A. Rundensteiner
Office: WPI, Fuller Labs #238 (the office at the end of the hall).
Email: rundenst at-the-typical-wpi address
Tu/Th, 4:00pm - 5:20pm, WPI, Fuller Labs 320
Office hours: AFTER class.
How To Contact Me And Office Hours:
First, you can contact me via email at
Please make sure to use the SUBJECT LINE
"CS542", otherwise I may take me extra time to locate your email.
I will aim to respond to messages within 24 hours, when possible.
- Second, I will try to be available directly after class.
- Third, utilize
office hour to answer your questions.
- If it is an urgent question that you need
an answer for and you cannot wait for the email response
or office hour, do feel free to drop
by my office any time.
- Otherwise, for lengthy discussions,
please make an appointment
either via email or via phone.
Class Mailing List
Note that a email mailing list
for this course has been set up to contain all students that have registered.
You will be automatically added to this class mailing list -
if you are registered for the course.
instructions of how to subscribe yourself to mailing lists at WPI can be found
Please send questions or material to
the entire class via the mailing list alias
for items of GENERAL interest only.
If there is very frequent email interactions in this course,
I open the news group pages via mywpi
to have the communication in one dedicated e-space.
This course is designed for
students interested in database application development,
to those interested in understanding the ins and outs
of database systems,
those interested in getting a solid foundation in the general area
of data-intensive processing.
those dealing with large-scale data management and analysis in
the broader sense, and also those
interested in database and information systems research and in
conducting an MS thesis or a dissertation.
An undergraduate database course or equivalent knowledge
is desired, but not required.
While some students may have had
prior database experience, others may not.
Thus we will review the
database fundamentals such that those
without prior DBMS background can participate in
Prerequisite is some knowledge of algorithms and
data structures, or permission of instructor.
Take to the instructor, if in doubt.
Some programming experience will be expected for this course,
such as Java, C++, or C#, because there will be a course project.
Required Text Book
Used copies of this book should be available in the WPI bookstore,
and can also be bought in various web stores
from Amazon.com to others.
Raghu Ramakrishnan and Johannes Gehrke
DATABASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
McGraw-Hill Publisher, Third Edition
Pub date: 2003.
Up-to-date material on the book, including copies
of lecture overheads, solutions to some assignments, known
errors in the book, sample projects, instructions for setup,
and so on can be gotten from
a web site maintained by the authors of the textbook at:
Readings from this book will be covered in the class.
Lecture notes will be based on this book and its
terminology. So you are strongly encouraged to get this book.
Helpful Optional Readings
For a reference for SQL,
you may want to consult
online references. Also many basic books exist introducing
you to the SQL standard or to the particulars of one
of the commercial DBMS systems, such as :
Other books which are good alternate references for the basic database
material covered in the course include:
Oracle10g Programming: A Primer by Rajshekhar Sunderraman, Addison-Wesley, 1999.
Understanding the New SQL: A Complete Guide J. Melton and A. R. Simon, Morgan-Kaufmann, 1993.
A Guide to the SQL Standard (third edition) C. J. Date and H. Darwen, Addison-Wesley, 1994.
Fundamentals of Database Systems R. Elmasri, and S. Navathe, Benjamin Cummings, any edition.
[covers about same material as our textbook.]
Database System Concepts, H.F. Korth, and A. Silberschatz, McGraw-Hill, any edition.
[covers about same material as our textbook.]
- An Introduction to Database Systems,
by C. J. Date, Addison Wesley.
[covers about same material as our textbook.]
Database Systems: The Complete Book
Hector Garcia-Molina, Jeffrey D. Ullman and Jennifer D. Widom
[ used by our undergraduate DB courses.]
Principles of Data and Knowledge Base Systems, Volume 1, J.D. Ullman, Computer Science Press.
[similar material as
in our textbook however
with a somewhat more
formal style ]
Final grades computed based on 100 points:
Note that students are expected to read the material assigned for each
class in advance and to participate in class discussions.
participation will be taken into account when deciding students' final
- 20 points: Assignments (Homeworks/Quizzes/Mini-projects)
- 30 points: Group Project (Report, Presentation, and Demonstration)
- 20 points: Midterm Exam
- 20 points: Final Exam
- 10 points: Research Report/Presentation (TBA; may be dropped).
- BONUS POINTS: Class participation will be considered in final grade.
In general, each assignment will have a basic objective for
the majority of the assignment points and an extended objective for
demonstrating additional work and understanding.
Final grades will reflect the extent to which you have demonstrated
understanding of the material through class discussions, interactions in
office hours, and performance in homeworks and exams,
as well completed the assigned projects. The
base level grade will be a ``B'' (good) which indicates that all the
objectives on assignments and exams have been met. A grade of ``A''
indicates significant achievement beyond the basic objectives.
of ``C'' will indicate not all basic objectives were met, but work was
satisfactory for credit.
of ``D'' will indicate that there were significant holes
in your understanding and/or your work.
No incomplete grades will be assigned unless
exceptional extenuating circumstances exist.
Homeworks (Online and on Paper)
Several homework assignments will be given throughout the course,
both online and written homework.
Online homeworks will typically be assigned using
Oracle and expected to be undertaken on the WPI Oracle server.
All students in the course will be given an account on that server.
We will have a midterm and a final.
The exams will be held in class.
The exam will test your understanding
of the basic ideas and objectives of the class as
covered in the course book and the lectures.
There will be one course project
which will be performed by student groups.
The goal of this project is for you to gain in-depth
knowledge in one particular area of databases
of your own chosing.
Your project can range from a practical DB application
(such as design and implementation of an
application on a DBMS server), to DB system implementations
(such as development of an SQL query optimizer),
a more exploratory implementation project
(such as collecting and installing for example
several data mining algorithms, and comparing their scalable performance
on huge data sets using Mahout technology), or research-oriented
work (such as reviewing current database literature or technologies
and suggesting possible
solutions to address that identified problem).
You are required to run your
project topic and particular project
by the instructor
The final grade of the team project (which will
be default be the same for each member of the team,
unless differences in contribution of the members
to the project are observed) will consist of:
the difficulty and scope of the project you have chosen to work on,
the quality of your solution approach, design and implementation,
the oral project presentation (covering
the problem your group tackled, your solution approach,
and your results at the end of the course),
the written documentation in
the form of a project report
(which you will make web-
accessible to other students in the class),
successful completion of your intended (even if later modified)
the demonstration of your system (including successful
example runs), as applicable,
the understanding of each team member of his or her part
of the project, as well as of the overall group product.
There will be four deadlines to the project:
first project topic decision, then written
project proposal, then project progress report,
and lastly the final project report and presentation.
More detailed requirements for the project description
writeup and the time schedule are available at the
This portion of the course is to be decided at
a later time in the course.
Depending on how quickly we get through
the bulk of the material and the level of background or lack
thereof of the majority of the students in the course,
we may decide to involve literature
research and a report (and possibly presentations by students), as described below.
In this case, student teams
will select one
topic for in-depth study that is not explicitly covered
in the course. This could be a particular commercial database system,
some advanced new database technology, or emerging database trends.
Tasks will include to collect
papers from the literature in that one chosen area.
The goal of this effort is for you to gain
knowledge in one additional topic of databases
of your own chosing and not covered in the textbook,
and to share this knowledge with the rest of the class.
The final output of this effort will be
a student report on the topic,
and selectively a student presentation in front of the class, time permitting
(only if small class size).
If presentations, they would typically be during the
actual course period.
Some teams must just be asked to submit written reports only,
You would need to discuss your presentation topic with the
instructor for approval first before proceeding on it.
You are strongly encouraged to turn in any assignments on-time.
Unless otherwise noted for a particular assignment,
the following late policy holds.
You will be allowed a one time one day late turn-in
without penalty, assuming you have a good reason for
the lateness and you get explicit permission from
the instructor to do so.
All other late assignments will be penalized by subtracting
30% of the total achievable points of that deliverable,
if turned in within the first 24 hours
after the due date.
Between 24 to 48 hours late turnin will result in
a reduction of 70% of the total achievable points.
Late point reductions cannot be made up by later improvements
of the assignment.
Certain deliverables may not allow for ANY LATE day,
as would be announced in class.
A Note on Plagerism and Cheating
Unless explicitly noted, all work is to be done on an individual basis
and by yourself.
are encouraged to discuss with others about ideas and material in the course,
in preparing for exams, in understanding homework problems, project statements,
etc. However, all homework solutions, exams are to be written individually, and
the solutions should be your own, unless otherwise specified.
Projects encourage teamwork, that is, in that case you are expected
to work closely with your partner/(s) to solve problems and prepare
a common agreed-upon solution.
Note in particular that copying of any material,
may it be a single sentence or a figure, from any location
(including the internet) without proper
acknowledgement of the source constitutes plagerism. If in doubt,
please ask for clarification. Any
violation of the WPI's guidelines for academic integrity will result in
no credit for the course and referral to the Student Affairs Office for
information on definitions, responsibilities and procedures regarding the
academic honesty policy can be found
Policy on Americans with Disabilities
If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a
disability, or if you have medical information to share with me,
please make an appointment with me as soon as possible. If you have
not already done so, students with disabilities who believe that they
may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the
Office of Disability Services (ODS)
as soon as possible to ensure that
such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion. This office
is located in the West St. House (157 West St), (508) 831-4908.