CS4320/CS5320: Introduction to Database Systems (Fall 2011)


·         Lecture: MWF, 2:30-3:20pm; Hollister B14

·         Sections:

o   Monday, 7:30-8:20pm, Upson 315 (Section lead: Wenlei Xie)

o   Tuesday, 11:30-12:20pm; Upson 315 (Section lead: Tuan Cao)

o   Friday, 1:25-2:15pm; Upson 315 (Section lead: Ben Sowell)

·         Instructor: Johannes Gehrke

o   Office hours: Mondays, 1:15-2:15pm, 4105B Upson Hall or by appointment.

·         TAs: Tuan Cao, Qiming Fang, Keonseo Park, Ben Sowell, Wenlei Xie

o   Office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, 5-6pm in 328B Upson Hall.

o   Please do not send email to the TAs directly; you can contact the TAs by sending email to “cs4320-fall2011-tas-l at cornell.edu”.

·         Course Management System. The homework assignments, grades, course schedule, and lecture notes are available in the CMS.

·         Textbook: Raghu Ramakrishnan and Johannes Gehrke. Database Management Systems, third edition, 2002.


August 24, 2011:

·         (August 29) There are no sections this week. The sections will start the week of September 5.

·         (August 24) All students from both CS4320 and CS5320 have been added to the CS4320 course instance on CMS. Even though you might be enrolled in CS5320, the "correct" CMS course instance for you is the CS4320 instance; both CS4320 and CS5320 are sharing the same lectures and assignments, and thus instead of replicating the course contents into two separate instances of the course on CMS, there will just be a single instance for all students. If you are planning to take this course and you do not have access to the CS4320 CMS instance at this time, send email to the instructor as soon as possible.

·         (August 24) A few more spaces in each of the sections have opened up. Note that the sections will only start the week of September 5.



Course Description


CS4320 gives an introduction to relational database systems. Topics covered include the relational model, SQL, transactions, database design, and concepts and algorithms for building database management systems. Students are encouraged to concurrently enroll in CS4321 (Practicum in Database Systems) as well. The textbook is required, but the contents of the book do not constitute the syllabus for the course - the classroom lectures define the course content, and the textbook is a reference.




CS4320 assumes knowledge of the material covered in CS2110 (Object-Oriented Programming and Data Structures) and CS3110 (Data Structures and Functional Programming).




The grades for CS4320 will be determined based on four homework assignments (50%), two exams (49%), and participation in the course evaluation (1%).

·         Five Homework Assignments (50% of your grade, 10% each). Details about the homework assignments can soon be found in CMS.

·         Exams (49% of your grade)

o   Prelim: Thursday, October 20, Upson B17; 7:30-9:30pm. (21% of your grade)

o   Final exam. Wednesday, December 14, Room Olin Hall 155; 9am-11:30am. (28% of your grade)

·         Participate in the course evaluation at the end of the course. (1% of your grade)



The course has associated discussion sections lead by the TAs where the material from class will be reviewed through exercises. In particular, the sections focus on doing exercises from the book, hands-on exercises with a real database system, and answering questions about the homework assignments. The sections start the week of September 5.


Late Homework Submissions Policy 


All homework assignments have to be submitted via CMS in electronic format. You may submit scanned PDF files of your homework assignments, but there is a limit on upload size and it is your responsibility to make sure in time that the upload of scanned files succeeds.  If there is a problem, submitting your homework via email or on paper is not an option. We suggest composing the homework assignments using a text editor or latex and creating a PDF file for submission.

The assignments have strict deadlines at 11:59pm on the day they are due. If you submit the assignment up to 24 hours late, there will be a 15% penalty. If you submit your assignment between 24 and 48 hours late, there will be a 30% penalty. No homework submissions are accepted more than two days late. This may sound strict, but we want to be fair and have the same rules for everyone. We will try to provide the best help possible to make you succeed with the assignments, but you will have to allocate sufficient time to finish your homework assignments and submit them before the deadline.


Academic Integrity


Students at Cornell are expected to follow a strict Code of Academic Integrity, which is taken very seriously in the Department of Computer Science and in CS432. If you are taking CS4320 or CS4321, please print and sign the Academic Integrity Form. You can hand your signed form to us in class.


Job Interviews


Many students who take CS4320/1 also have job interviews in the fall. Please make sure not to schedule any interviews such that you cannot attend the exams. We cannot move exams because of interviews and we also cannot provide makeup exam. Makeup exams can only be scheduled for serious medical reasons, not because of job interviews. We know that some companies behave inflexibly regarding interview dates (notably, Microsoft), but in this case you will have to state firmly that it is a Cornell rule that exams have priority (which is true). It is important not to tell recruiters that there is a possibility of moving the exam, because it is not true and they will take your word on it. Please keep in mind that traveling takes time: you should not schedule interviews a day before or after an exam, particularly if the interview is on the West Coast. Job interviews are no excuse for late submission of homework assignments.