CIS 550:  Database and Information Systems

Fall 2003


311 Towne , Tuesday/Thursday 1:30PM – 3:00PM

Text:  Ramakrishnan and Gehrke, Database Management Systems, 3rd ed.


Zachary Ives,, (215) 746-2789

Office hours: 3:00-4:00, Tuesdays

Location:  576 Levine Hall N (a.k.a. GRW building)

Teaching Assistant

Dinkar Gupta,

Office hours: 12:30-1:30, Mondays, Moore 459

Course Objectives

Data management is a very broad field, covering a range of topics from data modeling to systems design to logical models and computational complexity.  This class provides an introduction to the field, providing a foundation in the theory of relational and XML data design and the basics of query languages, two-tier architectures, schema mediation, database tuning, and database systems design.  The course is not merely about using a database, but also understanding how they work, how they can be made to interoperate, and what are current research topics.


This course will demand considerable skill and experience in logic and algorithmic thinking, and due to the breadth of the field, it will move very rapidly across a variety of subjects.  All students should have significant prior experience in programming (at least one academic year or equivalent suggested, plus CIS 500 or equivalent).


The format will be two one-and-a-half-hour lectures a week, plus assigned readings from the textbook and supplementary materials.  For supplemental reading, a one-page summary/review of each paper must be posted to the course newsgroup at least one hour prior to class.  There will be regular homework assignments and a term project, plus a midterm and a final exam. 


As is usual, your final grade will be comprised of scores on homework assignments, class participation, exams, paper reviews, and the course project. Breakdown: homework 30%, midterm 10%, final 20%, project 30%, summaries/commentary 5%, participation/intangibles 5%.

Useful Resources

Supplemental Textbooks (with links to Amazon)

Web Links

  • Oracle setup on eniac (and additional links)
  • MySQL handout and account setup
  • Course newsgroup -- requires that your news reader be set to Easiest way to access: run Pine on eniac, add the newsgroup.
  • SQL tutorial
  • XQuery tutorial

Significant Dates

  • Sep. 19, Add period ends
  • Oct. 11, Drop period ends
  • Oct. 13 - 14, Fall break
  • Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day
  • Nov. 27-28, Thanksgiving break
  • Dec. 8, End of Fall term classes
  • Dec. 9-11, Reading days
  • Dec 18, 11:00AM - 1:00PM, Final exam


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Last revised: August 19, 2003