CSCD 43 -- Database Systems Technology

Winter 2021

Index of this document

Contact information and meeting times

Instructor:  Nick Koudas
Office hours: Fridays 4-5 on skype or by appointment
Office:   IC468 (Scarborough campus);  BA 5240 (St. George campus)
Telephone:  416-287-7253 (Scarborough campus);  416-946-5819 (St. George campus) 
Email:  koudas AT cs Dot toronto Dot edu

NOTE: When sending email to the above address, prefix your subject line with CSCD43
Please be precise and brief. I prefer plain text emails. Do not send me pieces of code
asking me what is wrong; please see the TA's.
TAs:  Daren Chao
Office hours:  Tuesdays 1-3pm online

Lecture time and location:  Friday 9am - 11am online synchronous starting Friday Jan 15 (you will receive email with lecture details)

Tutorial times and locations:  Tuesday 9am-10am Online synchronous starting Jan 26 (you will receive email with lecture details)

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Course content

Course goals:   The course is an introduction to the technology behind relational database management systems. The topics covered include: storage systems, buffer management, physical database design, indexing and searching in one and more dimensions, query processing, query optimization, transactions management, recovery. The main goal of the course is to introduce techniques and principles used in the kernel of relational databases. The course will involve changing the kernel of a real database system to gain exposure on the underlying techniques. If time permits we will discuss other data architectures (column stores, Spark, Main Memory Data Systems).

Required Text:  Ramakrishnan and Gehrke: Database Management Systems, Third Edition, McGraw Hill.

Tentative weekly schedule:  see here

Calendar of important course-related events:


Date Event
Jan 15
First day of class
Jan 22
Project 1 handed out
Feb 9
Project 1 due before tutorial
Feb 12
Project 2 handed out
March 23
Project 2 due before tutorial
Feb 26
Midterm in class 1 hour  duration / project 3 out
March 29
Last day to drop course
April 9
Project 3 due
April TBD
Final exam

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Course policies

Course evaluation:   There will be three regular projects,  a midterm exam and a final exam. The purpose of the projects is to gain hands on experience working with the engine of an open source database management system. We will be using PostgreSQL in this course. You will modify the internals, adding new algorithms and functionality to the data management system. The projects follow closely the topics covered in the course. The relative weights of these components towards the final mark are shown in the table below:

10 Quizes
10% (1% each)
Midterm 20%
Final 30%
Project 1
Project 2
Project 3

Weekly Quiz on Quercus: After the lectures on Jan 22, 29, Feb 5, 12, 26, March 5,12,19,26, April 2 an online quiz will be on Quercus concerning the material of the lecture. You will have one week to complete it (until the following Friday before the start of class). Once start you will have a set amount of time to finish it. It is recommended that you take the quiz after you finish your study for the material in the lecture. Each quiz will be in multiple choice format.

Midterm/Final Exams: Both exams will be delivered synchronously on Quercus. The format will be multiple choice

Late homework policy:  No late homeworks will be accepted. If you miss an assignment deadline because of a medical or personal emergency, you must fill out the Special Consideration Form. (In case of a medical emergency, you must also submit the UTSC Student Medical Certificate, completed and signed by your physician. The medical certificate should be submitted on the first class you are able to attend after your emergency. Late certificates will not be accepted.) 

Homework  collaboration policy:   For the projects you may, if you wish, form groups of 2 students. Groups are self managed and you are fully responsible for division of labour.

Remarking policy:   If your request concerns a simple addition error, see the instructor.  To make any other kind of remarking request, you must fill this form , attach it to your homework assignment or test, and give it to the instructor of the course no later than one week from the date the marked assignment or test was made available to the class.  Remarking requests made after this deadline will not be accepted. For 2021 winter since we are delivering online please communicate your requests via email to the instructor.

Missed midterm test policy:    If you miss the midterm test due to a medical or other serious emergency, get in touch with your instructor immediately, and fill out the Special Consideration Form. (In case of a medical emergency, you must also submit the UTSC Student Medical Certificate, completed and signed by your physician.)  There will be no make-up test, but if we consider your reason for missing the test to be valid, we will use your final examination mark to compute your mark for the missed midterm test.

Attendance in tutorials:  Attendance in tutorials is as mandatory as attendance in lectures.  In neither case is formal attendance actually taken. However, there will be material presented only in tutorial and not discussed in the lectures for which you are responsible and in which you may be tested in homeworks or exams.

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In this space we will post announcements related to the course. Please check this space at least weekly.

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  • Marks so far

  • Handouts

    In this space we will make available electronic versions of course material.  There will be no electronic version of solutions available on the course web page.
    Tutorial material will not be available in electronic or hardcopy form -- i.e., attendance of tutorials is essential.

    Course related material available on Quercus files for this course.

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    Old exams

    There are no available old exams and/or homeworks.

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