CPS 116 (Fall 2005):
Introduction to Database Systems

Course Information
Lecture Notes
Tentative Syllabus
Programming Notes
Blackboard (Grades)


Course Description

This course is intended to give students a solid background in databases, with a focus on relational database management systems. Topics include data modeling, database design theory, data definition and manipulation languages, storage and indexing techniques, query processing and optimization, concurrency control and recovery, and database programming interfaces. In addition to these traditional topics, this course covers a sample of emerging topics such as XML and Web data management as well as advanced topics such as data warehousing and data mining. Programming projects are required.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with Unix and Java or C++. A good understanding of algorithms and data structures. Compared with CPS216 (Advanced Database Systems), CPS116 emphasizes more on how to use a DBMS, instead of how to build one. Nevertheless, we will study some DBMS internals in order to understand how a DBMS works so that we can use it more effectively.

Time and Place

11:40pm-12:55pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays; D243 LSRC

Throughout the semester, there will also be a number of (optional) discussion/review sessions conducted by the TA. They will be scheduled when needed, one week in advance.


Required: Database Systems: The Complete Book, by Hector Garcia-Molina, Jeffrey D. Ullman, and Jennifer Widom. Prentice Hall. 2002.


Instructor: Jun Yang
Email: junyang@cs.duke.edu
Office: D327 LSRC
Office hours: Tuesdays 2:00pm-3:00pm and Thursdays 2:00pm-4:00pm, or by appointment

TA: Kuan-ming (Ming) Lin
Web: http://www.cs.duke.edu/~km/
Email: km@cs.duke.edu
Office: D328 LSRC
Office hours: Mondays 4:30pm-6:00pm and Wednesday 4:30pm-6:00pm

Web, Email, and Blackboard

Most of the course materials, including the syllabus, lecture notes, reading assignments, homeworks, programming FAQs, etc., will be available through the course Web page (http://www.cs.duke.edu/courses/fall05/cps116/).

The email address cps116@cs.duke.edu reaches everybody in the class as well as the instructor and the TA. Only announcements, questions/answers, and comments of general interests should be sent to this address. Specific questions should be directed to the instructor and the TA. Please check your emails regularly, as important announcements and information will be sent via email.

We will use the Blackboard course management system for grades.


For most of the programming work in this course, we will provide a Linux server running the IBM DB2 database system as well as other relevant software packages. You will receive an account on this server by the second week of the class. The account is only valid for the duration of the course and will be purged when the semester is over. Please be considerate in using this server since it is shared by all students in the class. Refrain from running anything unrelated to the course. Quit all your applications and log out after using the server (in the past, we have found idle XEmacs processes to be the top culprit in server slowdowns). If something terminates abnormally, kill any runaway process manually (e.g., J2EE application servers, if not shutdown properly, can leave dozens of Java virtual machines running).

Parts of the homework assignments will be done online on Gradiance, a system pioneered by Prof. Jeffrey Ullman. Gradiance can generate different intances of a problem each time it is used, and it has a lab component that automatically tests your solutions on different inputs. One of the best features of Gradiance is that you are permitted to test yourself on a particular topic as many times as you like. We encourage you to continue testing on each topic until you complete the assignment with a 100% score. For each Gradiance problem set or lab, your score is the highest score achieved as of 11:59PM on the due date. More information about how to sign up for Gradiance accounts will be available at the time of the first assignment.



There are four homeworks, with a mix of written problems, programming problems, and supplemental online Gradiance problem sets and labs. Late homeworks will not be accepted, unless there are documented excuses from a physician or dean.

There is a course project (done either individually or in groups of two). Details will be available in the third week of the class.

Both midterm and final exams are open-book and open-notes.

Honor Code

Under the Duke Honor Code, you are expected to submit your own work in this course, including homeworks, projects, and exams. On many occasions when working on homeworks and projects, it is useful to ask others (the instructor, the TA, or other students) for hints or debugging help, or to talk generally about the written problems or programming strategies. Such activity is both acceptable and encouraged, but you must indicate in your submission any assistance you received. Any assistance received that is not given proper citation will be considered a violation of the Honor Code. In any event, you are responsible for understanding and being able to explain on your own all written and programming solutions that you submit. The course staff will pursue aggressively all suspected cases of Honor Code violations, and they will be handled through official University channels.

Last updated Tue Sep 06 01:03:13 EDT 2005