Tuesday/Thursday 11:45am–1:05pm (HU-137)
Amir Masoumzadeh (amasoumzadeh@albany.edu)
  • Office Hours: Friday 10am–12pm (UAB 422), or by appointment
Teaching Assistant
Baibhav Rajbhandari (brajbhandari@albany.edu)
  • Office Hours: Wednesday/Friday 3pm-4pm, or by appointment

Course Overview

This course is designed to introduce students to the foundations of database systems, with emphasis on the relational algebra, query processing, query optimization and transactions. The topics covered in this course include data models, schema design, schema normalization, query languages, query processing, query optimization, transactions, recovery, concurrency control, distributed databases, and parallel databases. There will be five homework assignments, three programming assignments and two exams.



Database System Concepts (7th Edition) by Silberschatz, Korth, and Sudarshan (ISBN10: 0078022150, ISBN13: 9780078022159)

Communication and Submissions

The course syllabus and schedule is available on the course webpage. Most of the tasks in this class will be handled via Blackboard including distribution of notes and homework assignments, assignment submission, and grading.

Assessment and Grading

The course is A-E graded based on the following categories and corresponding weights:

Watching Lectures and Answering Lecture Questions (5%)
You must watch the recorded lectures and answer a few questions on them on Blackboard.
Homework Assignments (30%)
There will be 6 problem set assignments.
Programming Assignments (25%)
There will be 3 programming assignments.
Exams (40%)
There will be a midterm and a final exam each worth 20% of your total grade.


The following schedule is tentative and will be regularly updated. It is your responsibility to check the schedule regularly.

  Date   Topic/Reading Assignment Due
Jan 23 Course Overview, Introduction to Databases
  • Chapter 1
Jan 28 Relational Model
  • Chapter 2
Jan 30 Physical Storage Systems
  • Chapter 12
Feb 04 Data Storage Structures
  • Chapter 13
Feb 06 Indexing
  • Chapter 14
Feb 11 Indexing
  • Chapter 14
Feb 13 Indexing
  • Chapter 14
Homework 1 due Feb. 14
Feb 18 SQL
  • Chapter 3
Feb 20 SQL
  • Chapter 3
Feb 25 Intermediate SQL
  • Chapter 4
Programming 1 due Feb. 25 (ext. Mar. 1)
Feb 27 Advanced SQL
  • Chapter 5
Homework 2 due Mar. 2
Mar 03 Query Processing
  • Chapter 15
Mar 05 Query Processing
  • Chapter 15
Homework 3 due Mar. 9
Mar 10 Midterm Review
Mar 12 No Class (class canceled)
Mar 17 No Class (Spring Break)
Mar 19 No Class (Spring Break)
Mar 24 [sync] Join for a Trial Exam on Blackboard. [async] Query Processing.
  • Chapter 15
Mar 26 [sync] Midterm Exam (On Blackboard)
Mar 31 [async] Query Optimization
  • Chapter 16
Apr 02 [async] Query Optimization
  • Chapter 16
Apr 07 [async] E-R Model
  • Chapter 6
Apr 09 [async] E-R Model
  • Chapter 6
Homework 4 due Apr. 10
Apr 14 [async] Relational Database Design
  • Chapter 7
Apr 16 [async] Relational Database Design
  • Chapter 7
Apr 21 [async] Transactions
  • Chapter 17
Apr 23 [async] Concurrency Control
  • Chapter 18
Homework 5 due Apr. 24, Programming 2 due Apr. 24
Apr 28 [async] Concurrency Control
  • Chapter 18
Apr 30 [async] Failure Recovery
  • Chapter 19
Homework 6 due May 4
May 05 [sync] Final Review
May 13 (Wed) Final Exam (8:00am-10:00am) Programming 3 due May. 14


No Late Submission
Assignments will be released about a week before their due date. You are highly recommended to study an assignment as soon as it becomes available. There will be ample opportunities to benefit from office hours and communication with me and the TAs before the due date. Assignment are due 11:59pm on the day specified in the homework. Submissions after due time will receive no points.
Review of Grades
Any issue regarding your grade in a specific assignment must be communicated to us no later than 5 business days after posting day of the grades. There will be no re-grading after the 5-day period has passed.

You can also review your graded midterm exam paper either after class or at the office hours for a 5-day period after grades are announced. It is not possible to re-grade your paper after the end of that period.

Attending Lectures
Attendance will be taken in lectures. Your absence will be excused if approved by Student Health Services (see medical excuse policy). You should notify the instructor of your absence due to religious observance in advance. Note that even though some of the material covered in class may not appear on the lecture slides, you are responsible for all materials covered in lectures. It is your responsibility to find out the material covered in a lecture you missed.

Please do not disrupt the class by entering late or leaving early without instructor’s approval.

Attending Exams
Midterm exam is given in regular hours of the class. Exam dates are given in the course schedule, and there will be usually reminders about them in the lectures. Makeup exams will be given only for valid and verifiable extenuating circumstances (e.g., a major medical situation). It is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor at least a week ahead of the exam date and arrange to take a makeup exam at an alternate date/time. Makeup exams are not guaranteed and will be generally harder than the regular exams.
Academic Integrity
It is every student’s responsibility to become familiar with the standards of academic integrity at the University. Claims of ignorance, of unintentional error, or of academic or personal pressures are not sufficient reasons for violations of academic integrity. Any incident of academic dishonesty can result in (i) no credit for the affected assignment, (ii) report to the appropriate University authorities (e.g., Dean of Undergraduate Education or Graduate Studies), and/or (iii) a failing grade for the course.

For all assignments and papers, you must submit your own work, except where collaboration is explicitly permitted or required. Also, you must properly cite any resources from which you borrow ideas and clearly distinguish them from your contributions.

Use of Electronic Devices
Computers or other electronic devices may be only used during class for note-taking, in-class exercises, or other class-related activities. You are not allowed to perform any unrelated task during class.
Students with Disabilities
Reasonable accommodation will be provided for students with documented disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring accommodation in this class, please notify the Disability Resource Center (Campus Center 130, 518-442-5490). That office will provide me with verification of your disability, and will recommend appropriate accommodations. In general, it is your responsibility to contact me at least one week before the relevant activity to make arrangements.