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HW Assignments:
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[Hw4] [Hw5] [Quizzes]

Practice Exams:
[Midterm] [Final]

CS257 Fall 2020 Sec1 Home Page/Syllabus

Database System Principles

Instructor: Chris Pollett
Office: MH 214
Phone Number: (408) 924 5145
Office Hours: MW 4:30-5:30pm
(Via Zoom Meeting)
Office Hours Zoom Meeting ID: 986 6035 4618
Meeting Password: 227926
Class Meets:
Sec1 MW 1:30-2:45pm
(Via Zoom Meeting )
Class Zoom Meeting ID:957 8679 2830
Meeting Password: 985049


To take this class you must have taken:
with a grade of C- or better.

Texts and Links

Required Texts: Principles of Database Management. Cambridge. 2018.. Wilfred Lemahieu, Seppe Vanden Broucke, Bart Baesens
Online References and Other Links: PostgresSql.
Open Street Map Data.


According to the catalog, this course covers: Design management and performance issues on: file organization and access methods, buffer management and storage management. Query processing and query optimization, transaction management, recovery, and concurrency control techniques. Reliability, protection and integrity techniques. Extensive programming project. This course is currently under revision to fit into the context of our three other database classes: CS157A, CS157B, and CS157C. CS157A covers the design and theory of databases for use in a relational database system, queries in languages like SQL for such systems, and simple transactions for these system. CS157B covers how file systems and database systems are built, how query compilation and optimization work in these systems, concurrency control, recovery, and simple data warehousing. Finally, CS157C covers a quick overview of key-value, column-family, document, and graph stores, replication and sharding, and then looks at MongoDB and Cassandra. CS257 builds on these courses by considering semi-structured data in more detail such as XML and XML query languages and web and enterprise search. We also discuss and deploy a graph database. CS 257 then reviews NoSQL databases and considers more advanced aspects of physical database organization. We review data warehousing of structured data and then look at how to handle data lakes and unstructured data warehouses. We look at business intelligence techniques related to these. We consider different models for measuring data quality and processes for data management. We look at concrete big data stacks such as Hadoop and implement a non-trivial map reduce project using it. Finally, we consider different analytic processing models and machine learning techniques for analyzing big data and data related to social networks.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

By the end of this course, a student should be able to:

CLO1 -- Be able to build and deploy a database making use of XML columns as well as suitable queries to those columns for a concrete use case

CLO2 -- Be able to deploy and understand the use cases of a graph-based database

CLO3 -- Be able to code an application that makes use of a database API to a NoSQL store.

CLO4 -- Code a basic inverted index capable of performing conjunctive queries or code another advanced DBMS data structure such as Bloom Filters, or Log-structured Merge Trees.

CLO5 -- Be able to deploy a concrete business intelligence system making use of OLAP features in SQL

CLO6 -- Be able to evaluate the data governance of a concrete hypothetical organization according to a data management framework such as TDQM (Total Data Quality Management) or CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration)

CLO7 -- Be able to code or analyze a common clustering algorithm.

CLO8 -- Be able to implement in a big data stack one non-trivial Map Reduce algorithm (for example to calculate page rank).

Course Schedule

Below is a tentative time table for when we'll do things this quarter:

Week 1:Aug 19 Put out wild fires in California
Week 2:Aug 24, Aug 26 Ch 10 XML Databases
Week 3:Aug 31, Sep 2 Finish Ch 10
Week 4:Sep 7 (No Class), Sep 9 Start Ch 11 NoSQL Databases
Week 5:Sep 14, Sep 16(Hw1) More NoSQL Databases
Week 6:Sep 21, Sep 23 Finish Ch 11
Week 7:Sep 28, Sep 30 Ch 12 Physical File Organization and Indexing
Week 8:Oct 5(Hw2), Oct 7(Midterm) Review
Week 9:Oct 12, Oct 14 Finish Ch 12
Week 10:Oct 19, Oct 21 Ch 13 Physical Database Organization
Week 11:Oct 26, Oct 28 Finish Ch 13
Week 12:Nov 2, Nov 4 Ch 17 Datawarehousing and Business Intelligence
Week 13:Nov 9, Nov 11 (No Class) Ch 18 Data Integration, Quality, and Governance
Week 14:Nov 16, Nov 18 Ch 19
Week 15:Nov 23(Hw4), Nov 25 (No Class) Start Ch 20 Analytics
Week 16:Nov 30, Dec 2 Finish Ch 20 Analytics
Week 17:Dec 7(Hw5) Review
The final will be Tuesday, December 15 from 12:15pm to 2:30pm PST, the department server will continue to accept your submission till Dec 16, 11:59pm.


HWs and Quizzes 50%
Midterm 20%
Final 30%

Grades will be calculated in the following manner: The person or persons with the highest aggregate score will receive an A+. A score of 55 will be the cut-off for a B-. The region between this high and low score will be divided into five equal-sized regions. From the top region to the low region, a score falling within a region receives the grade: A, A-, B+, B, B-. If the boundary between an A and an A- is 85, then the score 85 counts as an A-. Scores below 55 but above 50 receive the grade D. Those below 50 receive the grade F.

If you do better than an A- in this class and want me to write you a letter of recommendation, I will generally be willing provided you ask me within two years of taking my course. Be advised that I write better letters if I know you to some degree.

Course Requirements, Homework, Quiz Info, and In-class exercises

This semester we will have five homeworks, weekly quizzes, and weekly in-class exercises.

Every Monday this semester, except the first day of class, the Midterm Review Day, and holidays, there will be a quiz on the previous week's material. The answer to the quiz will either be multiple choice, true-false, or a simple numeric answer that does not require a calculator. Each quiz is worth a maximum of 1pt with no partial credit being given. Out of the total of twelve quizzes this semester, I will keep your ten best scores.

On Wednesday's, we will spend 15-20 minutes of class on an in-class exercise. You will be asked to post your solution to these exercises to the class discussion board. Doing so is worth 1 "insurance point/pre-point" towards your grade. A "insurance point/pre-point" can be used to get one missed point back on a midterm or final, up to half of that test's total score. For example, if you scored 0 on the midterm and have 10 insurance points, you can use your insurance points, so that your midterm score is a 10. On the other hand, if you score 18/20 on the midterm, you can use at most 1 insurance point since half of what you missed (2pts) on the midterm is 1pt.

Links to the current list of homeworks and quizzes can be found on the left hand side of the class homepage. After an assignment has been returned, a link to its solution (based on the best student solutions) will be placed off the assignment page. Material from assignments may appear on midterms and finals. For homeworks you are encouraged to work in groups of up to three people. Only one person out of this group needs to submit the homework assignment; however, the members of the group need to be clearly identified in all submitted files.

Homeworks for this class will be submitted and returned completely electronically. To submit an assignment click on the submit homework link for your section on the left hand side of the homepage and filling out the on-line form. Hardcopies or e-mail versions of your assignments will be rejected and not receive credit. Homeworks will always be due by midnight according to the departmental web server on the day their due. Late homeworks will not be accepted and missed quizzes cannot be made up; however, your lowest score amongst the five homeworks and your quiz total will be dropped.

When doing the programming part of an assignment please make sure to adhere to the specification given as closely as possible. Names of files should be as given, etc. Failure to follow the specification may result in your homework not being graded and you receiving a zero for your work.

Classroom Protocol

I will start lecturing close to the official start time for this class modulo getting tangled up in any audio/visual presentation tools I am using. Once I start lecturing, please mute yourself in Zoom unless you have a question. I like to see live people's faces, so if you have the bandwidth I prefer if people show their video, but I understand if you cannot. If something I am talking about is unclear to you, feel free to unmute yourself to ask a question about it or type it into the chat. On different occasions throughout the semester, such as for In-class Exercises and practice test days, I may or may not use break-out session. If I do, I expect people to behave as if they were being watched in public. People should keep their clothes on, etc. I will immediately refer any instances of harassment to the appropriate university channels. This class has also an online class discussion board which can be used to post questions relating to the homework and tests. Please keep discussions on this board civil. This board will be moderated. Class participation, although not a component of your grade, will be considered if you ask me to write you a letter of recommendation.


The midterm and final will be online and submitted electronically using the same mechanism as the homeworks. They are open book/internet, but you are not allowed to interact with other students or individuals or question answering entities about the test while taking it. Each test will be different for each student in this class, with problems depending on your name, id, etc. All problems will be short answer and can involve coding. The midterm will be available on: Oct 7 at the usual class time. This test should take an 1h15m, the department server, however, will keep accepting your midterms until 11:59pm that day, the official end time of the midterm, and if you took longer than 1h15m you won't be penalized. Similarly, the final will be available Tuesday, December 15 from 12:15pm to 2:30pm PST, the department server will continue to accept your submission till Dec 16, 11:59pm. My expectation is that if the final had been offered in person it should take about 2h15m.

The final will cover material from the whole semester although there will be an emphasis on material after the last midterm. No make up midterms will be given, in rare circumstance a make-up final might be given on the exam make-up day. The final exam may be scaled to replace a midterm grade if it was missed under provably legitimate circumstances. These exams will test whether or not you have mastered the material both presented in class or assigned as homework during the semester. I try to avoid making tricky problems. The week before each exam I will give out a list of problems representative of the level of difficulty of problems the student will be expected to answer on the exam.


If you believe an error was made in the grading of your program or exam, you may request in Zoom/person a regrade from me, Professor Pollett, during my office hours. I do not accept e-mail requests for regrades. A request for a regrade must be made no more than a week after the homework or a midterm is returned. If you cannot find me before the end of the semester and you would like to request a regrade of your final, you may see me in Zoom/person at the start of the immediately following semester.

University Policies and Procedures

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as student class time requirements expectations, academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at Below are some brief comments on some of these policies as they pertain to this class.

Academic Integrity

For this class, you should obviously not cheat on tests. For homeworks, you should not discuss or share code or problem solutions between groups! At a minimum a 0 on the assignment or test will be given. A student caught using resources like Rent-a-coder will receive an F for the course. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the Office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development.


If you need a classroom accommodation for this class, and have registered with the Accessible Education Center, please come see me earlier rather than later in the semester to give me a heads up on how to be of assistance.