Database and Information Systems

Fall 2007


Towne 311, Monday/Wednesday 4:30PM 6:00PM

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


Zachary Ives,, (215) 746-2789

Office hours: 3:30-4:30, Mondays, and by arrangement

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

Teaching Assistants

Mengmeng Liu

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

Location: 575 Levine N


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. We will also briefly discuss related topics such as ontologies and information retrieval.


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 and mini-projects 30%, midterm 10%, final 20%, project 30%, summaries/commentary 5%, participation/intangibles 5%.

Useful Resources

Supplemental Textbooks (with links to Amazon)

(None of these are required, but some may be useful for further depth. You may be able to find some of them in the Engineering Library.)

Web Links

Potentially Useful Downloads

These are only necessary if you want to download software to run on your home machine. The CIS department servers and labs have Galax, Eclipse, Tomcat, and MySQL installed.

Significant Dates


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Last revised: Sept 3, 2007