Topics in Database Systems
CS 748M, Waterloo, Fall '00
Synopsis: Traditional database systems focus on concurrent
execution numerous but relatively small transactions over large
databases; the on-line transaction processing (OLTP).
However, recently the emphasis has shifted to the on-line
analytical processing (OLAP): answering few, but rather complex
queries over very large/complex data sets with a predetermined
interpretation, commonly collected over long periods of time.
The class will focus on the requirements of such systems (what
questions are interesting and/or useful), on the limitations of
current approaches (what is feasible using current technology/at all),
on efficient storage and data models (what do we really need to
remember to answer particular OLAP queries), and on query processing
algorithms (including approximate answers).
The list will be extended with additional topics depending on
interest (and sufficient expertise).
The course will be run as a seminar with few formal lectures. However,
participants are expected to prepare for each class session
(reading assigned papers/papers relevant to the topic, trying to solve
questions from the previous session, etc.). The classes will usually
begin with a short presentation followed by discussion.
Projects are the integral part of the class; to complete your project
you have to
For large projects you may form groups; in general you can
collaborate as much as you want, but you must indicate your
own work (and give credit to others when appropriate).
There will be no formal examination(s) or assignments. However, I'll
try to summarize at the end of each session what you should look at
for the next class (and your grade depends on how well you were
prepared for classes, so the preparation is rather mandatory). The
assessment will be based on
Attendance of classes in semi-mandatory: you are unlikely to pass
if I won't be able to remember your face at the end of the semester.
The lectures assume prior familiarity with databases systems on the
level of an introductory database class. In addition
you ought to freshen up your skills in the following areas:
Fine print: the usual university policies on academic honesty, fair
use of computing facilities, etc., apply by default.