CS525 - Advanced Database Organization - 2023 Spring

Course webpage for CS525 - 2023 Spring taught by Boris Glavic



Boris Glavic

Course Description

Databases management systems are a crucial part of most large-scale industry and open-source systems. This course provides comprehensive coverage of issues associated with database system development and an in-depth examination of structures and techniques used in contemporary database management systems (DBMSs). Students will learn about the inner workings of these exciting systems: Which algorithms are used? What are typical architectures used to build a system as complex as a DBMS? What are implementation strategies? These questions and more will be answered during the course.

The course is highly applied, emphasizing practical skills and habits through a series of programming assignments during which students will develop their own tiny DBMS-like engine. We will cover the most important aspects/components of a DBMS: storage and buffer management, indexing, query optimization, query execution, and concurrency control and recovery.

Reading Material

The following text books will be helpful for following the course and studying the presented material. All four textbooks have their merits, but any one should be sufficient as reading material.

  • Elmasri and Navathe, Fundamentals of Database Systems, 6th Edition, Addison-Wesley, 2003
  • Ramakrishnan and Gehrke, Database Management Systems, 3nd Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2002
  • Silberschatz, Korth, and Sudarshan, Database System Concepts, , McGraw Hill, 2010
  • Garcia-Molina, Ullman, and Widom, Database Systems: The Complete Book, 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall,

The slides for the course will be made available here.


  • Courses: CS425
  • Programming experience in C, C++ or other low level languages
  • Unix OS and file system knowledge is helpful
  • Data structures (e.g., CS331)


Programming Assignments

There will be several programming assignments during the course. Starting from a storage manager you will be implementing your own tiny database-like system from scratch. You will explore how to implement the concepts and data structures discussed in the lectures and readings. The assignments will require the use of skills learned in this course as well as other skills you have developed throughout your program. Each assignment will build upon the code developed during the previous assignment. In the end there will be an optional assignment for extra credit. Each of the regular assignments will have optional parts that give extra credit. All assignments have to be implemented using C/C++. Furthermore, at the end all groups have the option to submit their code for a contest where the performance of solutions are compared based on the amount of I/O and time they require to finish the execution of some test workloads.

Midterm and Final Exam

There will be a mid term and a final exam covering the topics of the course.


There will be quizzes during the course. The main objective of the quizzes is for you and the instructor to evaluate how well you internalized the topics covered in the course.

Grading Policies

Weighting of Deliverable

  • programming assignments: (10% + 10% + 15% + 15%)
  • midterm exam: 20%
  • final exam: 20%
  • quizzes: (5% + 5%)

Grading Scheme

Your final course grade is determined based on your total score which is calculated as the weighted sum of the points for each of the deliverables. The weights are as shown above. For each deliverable you will receive between 0 and 100 points. For some deliverables, I am giving additional bonus points. These are not considered for the grade cutoffs. For instance, the first programming assignment is weighted 10%. For sake of the example assume that you get 110 points in this assignment (full points + bonus points), then this assignment would contribute \(0.1 * 110 = 11\) points to your final score. Note that bonus points are excluded when calculating the 100% bound. For example, if a home work assignment makes up 5% of the total grade and has 50 regular points and 10 bonus points then it will contribute your points divided by 50 times 0.05 to the final grade.

  • A: > 80
  • B: > 60
  • C: > 50
  • E: < 50

Detailed Course Topics

  • Introduction

    • Relational Algebra
    • DBMS Architecture
  • Hardware Characteristics affecting DBMS Design

    • Read/Write Properties of Disks
    • RAID Storage
    • Memory Hierarchy
  • Disk Storage and Buffer Management

    • Physical Tuple Layout
    • Page Layout
    • Tuple IDs
    • Buffer Replacement Strategies
  • Indexing and Hashing

    • B-Tree-Family Indices
    • Hashing
  • Query Optimization

    • Logical Optimization
    • Equivalence-preserving Transformations
    • Physical Optimization
    • Join Reordering
    • Cost Estimation
  • Query Execution

    • Pipelining
    • Push vs. Pull based Execution
    • Access Methods
    • Join Methods
    • Grouping and Aggregation
    • Other Operator Implementations
    • External Sorting
  • Recovery

    • Write Ahead Log (WAL)
    • Algorithms for Recovery and Isolation Exploiting Semantics (ARIES)
  • Concurrency Control

    • Serializability
    • Two-Phased Locking (2PL)
    • Implementing of Locks
  • Advanced Topics

    • Distributed Database Systems
    • Datawarehousing
    • Parallel Query Execution
    • Technics for Executing Nested Queries and Un-nesting
    • Additional Index Structures
    • Relation to Distributed Data Analytics (DISC)

Course Objectives

After attending the course students should be able to:

  • Understand the design decisions behind textbook DBMS architectures
  • Know the trade-offs of various storage organization techniques
  • Be able to build parts of a small-sized data processing system from scratch
  • Understand the basics of query optimization
  • Know standard implementations of relational operators such as join, aggregation, and set operations
  • Be able to estimate the cost of executing an operator/query based on DB statistics
  • Know standard database indexing techniques
  • Understand concurrency control and recovery mechanisms

Academic Integrity

You are welcome to discuss assignments with classmates, but all final work must be your own. For details on what constitutes academic dishonesty, consult the university's Code of Academic Honesty at https://web.iit.edu/student-affairs/handbook/fine-print/code-academic-honesty. Any confirmed cases of academic dishonesty will be reported to academichonesty@iit.edu, and any work involved will, at the very least, will receive a reduction in grade deemed appropriate by the instructor.

Disability Resources

Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with documented disabilities. In order to receive accommodations, students must obtain a letter of accommodation from the Center for Disability Resources and make an appointment to speak with the instructor as soon as possible. The Center for Disability Resources is located in the Life Sciences Building, room 218, tel:312-567-5744 or disabilities@iit.edu.

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