Database Systems Concepts (Fall 2023)

As the first introductory course for databases, this course studies the fundamentals of using and implementing relational database management systems. First, from the user perspective (i.e., how to use a database system), the course will discuss conceptual data modeling, the relational and other data models, database schema design, relational algebra and calculus, and the SQL query language. Further, from the system perspective (i.e., how to design and implement a database system), the course will study data representation, indexing, query optimization and processing, and transaction processing. Finally, we will look at large scale “big-data” processing systems.

This class includes a semester project that satisfies the “Major Project” requirement for the B.S. in Computer Science degree. Students will design the overall goals and requirements of the project with guidance from the instructor. The project will be developed gradually through the semester by
producing a project proposal, design, initial demonstration, and final demonstration, presentation, and report. Drawing on skills and knowledge from prior classes, such as Fundamentals of Computing, Discrete Mathematics, Systems Programming and others, the final deliverable of the project will be a working Web Application that will solve some real-world problem.


Background: Data Structures CSE30331 taken previously or concurrently

Programming: For projects, you will do some significant application programming, with both SQL and some host languages of your choice (e.g., C, C++, Java, PHP). We will not cover programming-specific issues in this course.


Class Information

M/W/F 9:25am – 10:15am

131 DeBartolo Hall


Dr. Tim Weninger <>

Office Hours:
Wed 10:15am in 380 Fitzpatrick Hall or by appointment

Teaching Assistants

Emelia Hughes <>
Office Hours: Thurs 11:30-12:30

Tyler Berg <>
Office Hours: Mon 10:30-11:30

TA Office Hours will be held in 150 Fitzpatrick Hall.

Class Forum

Questions about the course material, homework, project, or any other course-related questions should be asked on Canvas. Private questions can be directed to the instructor and/or TAs, but we may ask you to ask it on the forum.

Course Project

There will be a semester-long course project, which involves significant database application programming. The project will be structured with several milestones due during the semester, leading to a demo and write-up near the end of the semester.


1Wed Aug 23Introduction
1Fri Aug 25ER Model Basics
2Mon Aug 28Special Relationships in ER Diagrams
2Wed Aug 30Project OverviewHW1 Out
2Fri Sep 01Relational Model
3Mon Sep 04Relational Model Translation
3Wed Sep 06Functional Dependencies
3Fri Sep 08The Normal Forms HW1 Due [Solutions], Stage 0 Due
4Mon Sep 11Boyce and Codd’s Normal Form
4Wed Sep 13Web ProgrammingHW2 Out [Weninger in DC]
4Fri Sep 15DB Programming
5Mon Sep 18Relational Algebra Database icon PNG, ICO or ICNS | Free vector iconsStage 1 Due
5Wed Sep 20No Class[Weninger in DC]
5Fri Sep 22Relational Algebra Expressions Database icon PNG, ICO or ICNS | Free vector icons
6Mon Sep 25Relational Calculus Database icon PNG, ICO or ICNS | Free vector icons
6Wed Sep 27SQL Queries Database icon PNG, ICO or ICNS | Free vector iconsHW 2 Due [Solutions]
6Fri Sep 29SQL Subqueries Database icon PNG, ICO or ICNS | Free vector iconsStage 2 Due HW3 Out
7Mon Oct 02SQL Aggregation Database icon PNG, ICO or ICNS | Free vector icons
7Wed Oct 04SQL Aggregation OperatorsDatabase icon PNG, ICO or ICNS | Free vector icons
7Fri Oct 06SQL Insertion, Update, and Delete Database icon PNG, ICO or ICNS | Free vector icons
8Mon Oct 09SQL Views, Joins, and Foreign Keys Database icon PNG, ICO or ICNS | Free vector icons
8Wed Oct 11Exam ReviewHW3 Due
8Fri Oct 13Exam 1[first page]
9Mon Oct 16Fall Break
9Wed Oct 18Fall Break
9Fri Oct 20Fall Break
10Mon Oct 23Spinning Disks
10Wed Oct 25Indexing Basics HW4 Out
10Fri Oct 27Indexing B+ Tree
11Mon Oct 30Indexing Hashtables
11Wed Nov 01Indexing in SQLStage 3 Due [Signup]
11Fri Nov 03Databases on the DiskHW4 Due [Solutions]
12Mon Nov 06Query Execution / Optimization HW5 Out
12Wed Nov 08Transaction Management
12Fri Nov 10Transaction Logging
13Mon Nov 13HDFS
13Wed Nov 15MapReduceHW5 Due [Solutions]
13Fri Nov 17NoSQL and CAP HW6 Out
14Mon Nov 20Spark
14Wed Nov 22Thanksgiving Break
14Fri Nov 24Thanksgiving Break
15Mon Nov 27Object Relational Mapping
15Wed Nov 29Exam 2 ReviewHW6 Due [Solutions]
15Fri Dec 01Exam 2[first page]
16Mon Dec 04No Class
16Wed Dec 06Project Presentations
16Fri Dec 08Project Presentations
17 Mon Dec 11Finals Week



Assignments 25%
Exam 125%
Exam 225%


Assignments will typically be due at the end of a particular class period (unless otherwise specified). All assignments shall be uploaded to Gradescope with questions annotated in the system. Unannotated submissions will not receive a grade.


This table indicates minimum guaranteed grades. Under certain limited circumstances (e.g., an unreasonably hard exam), we may select more generous ranges or scale the scores to adjust.

Total Grade
90-100 A-, A
80-89 B-, B, B+
70-79 C-, C, C+
60-69 D



Textbooks are not required. However, much of the class material and even some of the homeworks will draw from these and other resources.

Database Systems: The Complete Book, 2nd ed., by Hector Garcia-Molina, Jeffrey D. Ullman, and Jennifer D. Widom.


Students should attend all classes. Effective lectures rely on students’ participation to raise questions and contribute in discussions. We will strive to maintain interactive class discussions if possible.

Lecture capture is enabled for this class. This system allows us to record and distribute lectures and other audio and video recordings to you in a secure environment. Because we will be recording in the classroom, your questions or comments may be recorded


All requests to change grading of any course work must be submitted to Gradescope within one week of when the grades are made available. Requests must be specific and explain why you feel your work deserves additional credit. Do not ask for a regrade until you have studied and understood our sample solution.

Late Work

All scheduled due dates/times are US Eastern Time. Homework is typically due at the beginning of class on the due date, but check each the assignment for specifics.

Due date/time will be strictly enforced. Missing or late and/or unannotated work gets zero credit. If you are unable to complete an assignment due to illness or family emergency, we will understand but please see the instructor as soon as possible to make special arrangements. All such exceptional cases must be fully documented.

Academic Integrity

Notre Dame Students are expected to abide by Academic Code of Honor Pledge:

As a member of the Notre Dame community, I acknowledge that it is my responsibility to learn and abide by principles of intellectual honesty and academic integrity, and therefore I will not participate in or tolerate academic dishonesty.

All course work that you submit must be efforts of your own (if it is an individual assignment) or of your approved team (if it is a group assignment). Discussion of homework problems is encouraged, but writing solutions together or looking at other students’ solutions is not allowed. Much of the material in this class can be found online. You may look to online sources for guidance, but you must always cite your source(s).