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 CSEP 544 - Principles of Database Systems
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CSEP 544 Syllabus


Dan Suciu

Course Goals

Databases are at the heart of modern commercial application development. Their use extends beyond this to many applications and environments where large amounts of data must be stored for efficient update and retrieval. The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to the design and use of database systems, discuss a few advanced data management topics, such as the use of views and subtle issues in concurrency control, and to give an appreciation of the key issues in building such systems.
We begin by covering the relational model and the SQL language. We then study methods for database design, covering the entity relationship model. We spend a lecture on the advanced use of views in data management. Next, we discuss transaction management, covering both recovery from systems failures and concurrency control. We then inspect the architecture of a database system, and discuss efficient storage of data, execution of queries and query optimization. Finally, we discuss XML as a data model, and the XQuery languages

Course Format

The class meets once a week for lectures. Lecture slides are in powerpoint and will be made available on the web prior to the lecture. Some lectures follow the textbook losely, others contain material that is not included in the texbook. The lecture itself plus the the lecture notes are designed to be clear and selfcontained, so please make every effort to come to class. You are also encouraged to read from the textbook. There will be seven homework assignments: the odd numbered ones are mini programming project, the even numbered are theoretical assignments.


Tuesday 6:30-9:20 pm, EEB 037


Final:   June 9, 6:30-8:20 pm.

Instructor Information & Office Hours

Office hours  
 Dan Suciu, Professor  Allen 662  685-1934  suciu[at]cs Please make email appointments  I will be available most days 5:30-6:20 pm,  except Tuesdays
 Bhushan Mandhani, TA
 Allen 490
 By email appointments

Main textbook:

  • Database Management Systems (third edition), Raghu Ramakrishnan and Johannes Gehrke.    (Most of the advanced material is form this book.)

Second textbook:

  • Database Systems: The Complete Book, Hector Garcia-Molina, Jeffrey Ullman, Jennifer Widom.   (Some of the basic material follows this book.)

Web sources:

Other texts:

  • Fundamentals of database systems by Elsmasri and Navathe.
  • XQuery from the experts, edited by Katz
  • Foundations of database systems by Abiteboul, Hull and Vianu.
  • Data on the Web: from relations to semistructured data and XML by Abiteboul, Buneman, Suciu.

Late Policy

  • Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date, unless otherwise announced. Late homework will not be accepted.


Home work: 70%
Final: 30%


I hope you will attend every lecture. If you miss a lecture, talk to a friend who was present, and be sure to check the Website for class messages.


  • Programming: SQL Server (on IPROJSRV), Postgres (on your machine), Java
  • Communication: website and mailing list


You will be required to change your password the first time you access the SQL Server running on IPROJSRV. The new password must obey the Windows password policy as follows (from "MSDN" website):
Password complexity policies are designed to deter brute force  attacks by increasing the number of possible passwords. When  password complexity policy is enforced, new passwords must meet the  following guidelines:
   * The password does not contain all or part of the account name of 
     the user. Part of an account name is defined as three or more
     consecutive alphanumeric characters delimited on both ends by
     white space such as space, tab, and return, or any of the
     following characters: comma (,), period (.), hyphen (-),
     underscore (_), or number sign (#).
   * The password is at least eight characters long.
   * The password contains characters from three of the following four categories:
         o Latin uppercase letters (A through Z)
         o Latin lowercase letters (a through z)
         o Base 10 digits (0 through 9)
         o Non-alphanumeric characters such as: exclamation point (!),  dollar sign ($), number sign (#), or percent (%).
Please contact the TA if there is some problem with your account on IPROJSRV.

Computer Use Policy

Some excerpts from the campus policies. Take them seriously: "You must use all UW [computing] resources in strict accordance with local, state, and federal laws. These laws cover such areas as illegal access to computer systems, networks, and files; copyright violations; and harassment issues... Software and information resources provided through the university for use by faculty, staff, and students may be used on computing equipment only as specified in the various software licenses. Unauthorized use of software, images, or files is regarded as a serious matter and any such use is without the consent of the University of Washington...If abuse of computer software, images, or files occurs, those responsible for such abuse will be held legally accountable."

Academic Misconduct

 All work turned in is expected to be your own. Although students are encouraged to study together, each student is expected to produce his or her own solution to the homework problems. Copying or using sections of someone else's program, even if it has been modified by you, is not acceptable. The University has very clear guidelines for academic misconduct and the staff of CSEP 544 will be vigorous in enforcing them.

CSE logo Department of Computer Science & Engineering
University of Washington
Box 352350
Seattle, WA  98195-2350
(206) 543-1695 voice, (206) 543-2969 FAX