Tuesday/Thursday 12:00pm–1:20pm (Fully Online - Synchronous)
Amir Masoumzadeh (amasoumzadeh@albany.edu)
  • Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday 4pm–5pm, 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.



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 lecture notes, homework assignments, exams, and feedback. Lectures will be delivered online at the scheduled class time via Zoom. Instructions to connect to the class Zoom meeting will be available on Blackboard. Lectures will be also recorded and posted (only accessible to class).

Assessment and Grading

The course is A-E graded based on the following categories and corresponding weights. Conversion from the final numerical grade to the letter grade is based on cutoffs determined according to the grade distribution in the class. This results in more flexible and favorable grades compared to using a fixed conversion scale.

Homework Assignments (45%)
There will be about 7 problem set assignments.
Exams (50%)
There will be a midterm exam (taken during regular class sessions) and a final exam. Each exam is worth 25% of your total grade.
Class Participation (5%)


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

Date Topic/Reading Assignment
Feb02 Course Overview, Introduction to Databases
  • Chapter 1
Feb04 Relational Model
  • Chapter 2
Homework 1 due Feb12
Feb09 Physical Storage Systems
  • Chapter 12
Feb11 Data Storage Structures
  • Chapter 13
Feb16 Data Storage Structures (cont.), Indexing
  • Chapters 13, 14
Feb18 Indexing
  • Chapter 14
Homework 2 due Mar02
Feb23 Indexing (cont.)
  • Chapter 14
Feb25 Indexing (cont.), SQL
  • Chapters 14, 3
Mar02 SQL (cont.)
  • Chapter 3
Mar04 Intermediate SQL
  • Chapter 4
Homework 3 due Mar12
Mar09 Advanced SQL
  • Chapter 5
Mar11 Midterm Exam Review
Mar16 Midterm Exam (On Blackboard)
Mar18 Query Processing
  • Chapter 15
Mar23 Query Processing (cont.)
  • Chapter 15
Mar25 Query Processing (cont.)
  • Chapter 15
Mar30 Query Optimization
  • Chapter 16
Homework 4 due Apr05
Apr01 Query Optimization (cont.)
  • Chapter 16
Apr06 No Class (Break)
Apr08 E-R Model
  • Chapter 6
Homework 5 due Apr19
Apr13 E-R Model (cont.)
  • Chapter 6
Apr15 Relational Database Design
  • Chapter 7
Apr20 Relational Database Design (cont.)
  • Chapter 7
Apr22 Relational Database Design (cont.)
  • Chapter 7
Homework 6 due Apr30
Apr27 Transactions
  • Chapter 17
Apr29 Concurrency Control
  • Chapter 18
May04 Concurrency Control (cont.)
  • Chapter 18
Homework 7 due May10
May06 Failure Recovery
  • Chapter 19
May11 Final Review
May14 (Fri) Exam 2 (8am-10am)


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. Assignments 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 the posting day of the grades. There will be no re-grading after the 5-day period has passed.
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.
Attending Exams
The midterm exam is given in regular hours of the class. The final exam will be during the final exam period. Tentative 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 tasks 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.
Mental Health
As a student, there may be times when personal stressors interfere with your academic performance and/or negatively impact your daily life. The University at Albany Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides free, confidential services including individual and group psychological counseling and evaluation for emotional, social, and academic concerns. Given the COVID pandemic, students may consult with CAPS staff remotely by telephone, email, or Zoom appointments regarding issues that impact them or someone they care about. For questions or to make an appointment, call (518) 442-5800 or email consultation@albany.edu. Visit https://www.albany.edu/caps/ for hours of operation and additional information.

If your life or someone else’s life is in danger, please call 911. If you are in a crisis and need help right away, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Students dealing with heightened feelings of sadness or hopelessness, increased anxiety, or thoughts of suicide may also text “GOT5” to 741741 (Crisis Text Line).