Lecture Time/Location
Tuesday/Thursday 12:00pm–1:20pm, Taconic 122
Amir Masoumzadeh (amasoumzadeh@albany.edu)
  • Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday 4:30pm–5:30pm (Zoom link on Blackboard), or by appointment
Teaching Assistant
Zhenfei Zhang (zzhang45@albany.edu)
  • Office Hours: Monday/Wednesday 2:00pm-3:00pm (UAB 415)

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.


Departmental examination in discrete mathematics, or B+ or above in CSI 521.


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 announcements, lecture notes, assignment submission, feedback, and grades.

Assessment and Grading

You will be assessed based on the following:

In-Class Exercises (5%)
You will work on small in-class exercises either individually or in teams. Submissions are only accepted at the designated time during class. Missing submissions (including due to absence) will result in not receiving the grade for the associated exercises. Up to 10% of exercises will be dropped from your grade calculation to accommodate unforeseen situations.
Homework Assignments (50%)
There will be about 8 homework assignments. Solutions to problem set assignments must be typed and submitted as PDF. Solutions to programming assignments must be well-documented.
Exams (45%)
You will take a midterm exam (during a regular class session) and a final exam (during the final exam period). Exams are non-cumalative and equally weighted.

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


The following schedule is tentative and will be regularly updated. It is your responsibility to check the schedule regularly. The plus sign (+) means optional reading.

Day Topic/Reading Assignment
Jan19 Course Overview, Introduction to Databases
  • Chapter 1
Jan24 Relational Model
  • Chapter 2
Homework 1 due Feb02
Jan26 Relational Model (cont.), SQL
  • Chapters 2, 3
Jan31 SQL (cont.)
  • Chapter 3
Feb02 SQL (cont.)
  • Chapter 3
Feb07 Intermediate SQL
  • Chapter 4
Homework 2 due Feb14
Feb09 Intermediate SQL (cont.), Advanced SQL
  • Chapters 4, 5
Feb14 E-R Model
  • Chapter 6
Feb16 E-R Model (cont.)
  • Chapter 6
Homework 3 due Feb22
Feb21 Normalization
  • Chapter 7
Feb23 Normalization (cont.)
  • Chapter 7
Homework 4 due Mar01
Feb28 Normalization (cont.)
  • Chapter 7
Mar02 Midterm Exam Review
Mar07 Midterm Exam
Mar09 Data Storage Structures
  • Chapter 13
Mar14 No Class (Spring Break)
Mar16 No Class (Spring Break)
Mar21 Indexing
  • Chapter 14
Mar23 Indexing (cont.)
  • Chapters 14
Homework 5 due Mar30
Mar28 Indexing (cont.)
  • Chapters 14
Mar30 Query Processing
  • Chapter 15
Apr04 Query Processing (cont.)
  • Chapter 15
Homework 6 due Apr11
Apr06 Query Processing (cont.)
  • Chapter 15
Apr11 Query Optimization
  • Chapter 16
Homework 7 due Apr20
Apr13 Query Optimization (cont.)
  • Chapter 16
Homework 8 due May04
Apr18 Transactions
  • Chapter 17
Apr20 Concurrency Control
  • Chapter 18
Apr25 Concurrency Control (cont.)
  • Chapter 18
Homework 9 due May01
Apr27 No Class (UAlbnay Showcase Day)
May02 Final Review
May10 (Wed) Final Exam (8:00am-10:00am)


No Late Submission (Except One Assignment)
Assignments will be released at least 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 at 11:59pm on the day of their deadline. Submissions after due time will receive no points. However, in order to account for unforeseen situations, you can request to submit only one assignment late up to 3 days after the deadline. In order for your late assignment to be graded, you should email the instructor to request a late submission before the deadline. You should note that a late-submission request may not be always accepted (e.g., when the solutions need to be discussed in class immediately after a submission). Therefore, you are recommended to submit a version of your solution before the deadline if your request has not been reviewed yet. Also, note that you only have one such opportunity during the semester. Therefore, it is advised to leave that option for truly critical situations.
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 Classes
Class attendance is required for successful completion of this course.
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. 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 3 days 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 Access and Inclusion Student Services (DAISS) (Campus Center 130, 518-442-5501). 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).

Health and Safety Protocols
You are expected to strctly follow the university health and safety protocols including face mask guidelines. See the university’s instructions on positive Covid test results & isolation as well as the university’s basic safety protocols for details.