CS561. Advanced Topics in Database Systems
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Class Meetings

         Term: Spring-2012
         Room: SL-407 (Salisbury Laboratories-407)
         Date/Time: Tuesday and Thursday, 4:00pm - 5:20pm.

Instructor/Office Hours
          Prof. Mohamed Eltabakh, FL-235, meltabakh@cs.wpi.edu
          Office Hours:  Tuesday: 2:00pm - 3:00pm, Thursday: 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Course Overview (Catalog Info)
Database systems provide an efficient and convenient environment for processing disk-resident data. Typical Database Management Systems (DBMSs) provide features such as indexing structures, concurrency control, recovery control, transactional models, and query optimization. Typical DBMSs have been designed to address the requirements of retail- and banking-like systems. However, this narrow view of DBMSs has changed significantly over the last two decades to include emerging applications from various domains. In this course we will cover several of advanced techniques in the areas of large-scale data analytics (Hadoop and MapReduce infrastructures), scientific data management, distributed and parallel databases, data integration, and cloud computing. We will also cover active databases, object-relational and semi-structured data models, and OLAP techniques. The exact subset of topics will vary depending of the students' interest and availability of time.

Course Objectives
There are several objectives from this course including:
   1-  Learning state-of-art techniques in database systems and information management that you can apply to your future research and/or your practical work.
   2-  Learning how the prepare and present technical papers which is an essential skill for students and researchers.
   3-  Learning how to review papers. Reviewing technical and scientific papers is a skill that you need to develop. Throughout this course, you will review several papers.
   4-  Working in a semester-long project that can potentially lead to a publication.

The course is organized as series of seminars presented by the instructor and students. The instructor will present several lectures covering the state-of-art techniques in various topics. Each student is expected to present two to three papers in a certain topic. For a given lecture, all non-presenting students are expected to read the presented paper and to submit a one-page review that highlights (1) the main idea of the paper, (2) two/three strong points, and (3) two/three weak points of the paper. Students will also form terms of two to work on a semester-long project. An ideal project will involve implementing some of the techniques covered in class along with some modifications/extensions to them, or performing comparative study between alternative techniques. However, the project is not limited to the cover material. A good project would possibly result in writing a publishable paper. More details can be found here.


Students are expected to have strong background and knowledge of relational database management systems. Prior courses in databases, e.g., CS542, CS4432, or equivalent courses, are recommended. Also students are expected to have strong skills in programming languages such as C or Java.

Course Load & Grading Policy
This course will have 2 presentations per student over the entire semester, one long-term project, plus a final exam. The final exam is based on what the instructor will present in class. The course grades are divided as shown below. The items listed below are discussed in more detail here.

Items Percentage
Reviews & Participation
Semester-Long Project
Final Exam

WPI E-System
In addition to this website, the course is also available at blackboard.wpi.edu.

Discussion Board
Please use the discussion board available at blackboard.wpi.edu for any course-related discussion and exchange of emails.