Lecture Time/Location
Tuesday/Thursday 10:30am–11:50am, LS 2095 - D’Ambra Auditorium
Amir Masoumzadeh (amasoumzadeh@albany.edu)
  • Office Hours: Tuesday 2pm–3pm, Thursday 3pm–4pm, UAB 422 and Zoom (link on Brightspace)
Teaching Assistant
Ferhat Demirkiran (fdemirkiran@albany.edu)
  • Office Hours: Monday/Wednesday 2pm–3pm, UAB 419

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, and concurrency control.


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 Brightspace 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 (45%)
You will work on about 10 homework assignments. Solutions to problem set assignments must be typed and submitted as PDF. Solutions to programming assignments must be well-documented.
Exams (50%)
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 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.


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.

Week Topic/Reading Assignment
Jan18 Course Overview, Introduction to Databases
  • Chapter 1
Jan23 Relational Model
  • Chapter 2
Homework 1 due Jan30
Jan25 SQL
  • Chapters 3
Jan30 SQL (cont.)
  • Chapter 3
Homework 2 due Feb08
Feb01 SQL (cont.)
  • Chapter 3
Feb06 Intermediate SQL
  • Chapter 4
Feb08 Intermediate SQL (cont.)
  • Chapters 4
Homework 3 due Feb15
Feb13 Intermediate SQL (cont.)
  • Chapters 4
Feb15 E-R Model
  • Chapter 6
Feb20 E-R Model (cont.)
  • Chapter 6
Homework 4 due Feb27
Feb22 Normalization
  • Chapter 7
Feb27 Normalization (cont.)
  • Chapter 7
Homework 5 due Mar06
Feb29 Normalization (cont.)
  • Chapter 7
Mar05 Indexing
  • Chapter 14
Mar07 Midterm Exam Review
Mar12 Midterm Exam
Mar14 Indexing (cont.)
  • Chapters 14
Homework 6 due Mar28
Mar19 No Class (Spring Break)
Mar21 No Class (Spring Break)
Mar26 Query Processing
  • Chapter 15
Mar28 Query Processing (cont.)
  • Chapter 15
Homework 7 due Apr04
Apr02 Query Optimization
  • Chapter 16
Homework 8 due Apr11
Apr04 Query Optimization (cont.)
  • Chapter 16
Homework 9 due Apr18
Apr09 Transactions
  • Chapter 17
Apr11 Concurrency Control
  • Chapter 18
Apr16 Concurrency Control (cont.)
  • Chapter 18
Apr18 Failure Recovery
  • Chapter 19
Homework 10 due Apr24
Apr23 Failure Recovery (cont.)
  • Chapter 19
Apr25 Final Review
Apr30 No Class (UAlbnay Showcase Day)
May03 Final Exam (Friday, May 3, 10:30-12:30pm)


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. In order for your late assignment to be graded, you must 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. You have up to 3 days to submit after the deadline if your late-submission request is approved. 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. 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. If an absence in exam is expected due to religious observance, the student is responsible to notify the instructor at least 30 days before the exam date. Otherwise, their request may not be granted. 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 a zero grade for the affected course component and a report sent to the appropriate University authorities (e.g., Dean of Undergraduate Education or Graduate Studies). Repeated violations will result in a failing grade for the course.

For all assignments, you must submit your own work, except where collaboration is explicitly permitted or required. Providing your solutions to others or copying even parts of a solution is considered plagiarism. In projects/papers, 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.
Health and Well-Being
Your physical and mental health is very important. The university has several health services when you need them. In particular, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides free, confidential services including psychological counseling and evaluation for emotional, social, and academic concerns.

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).