CMSC424: Database Design (Spring 2008)

Essential details

Time: Tuesday and Thursday, 11:00 - 12:15
Location: CSIC 1121
Instructor: Mihai Pop  (mpop at umiacs)  x5-7245
Office hours: Wednesdays, 11:00-12:00 in AVW 3223
Office address: (by appointment)
                       3120F Biomolecular Sciences Building (bldg #296).
                       Building is usually locked.  Call me from the intercom and I'll buzz you in.

TA: Sharath Srinivas (sharath at cs)
TA office hours: Monday 10-11:30, Wednesday 3-4:30
TA office: AVW 1112

AWC "promo"

Detailed Syllabus

Description Motivation for the database approach as a mechanism for modeling the real world. Review of the three popular data models: relational, network, and hierarchical. Comparison of permissible structures, integrity constraints, storage strategies, and query facilities. Theory of database design logic.


CMSC420 with a grade of C or better; and permission of department; or CMSC graduate student


Required text: Silberschatz, Korth & Sudarshan; "Database System Concepts", Fifth Edition, McGraw Hill 2005.

The book website ( has a lot of supplemental material that you may find useful.

Course topics

The course will cover the following main areas.  A detailed syllabus is provided here
  • Models for data representation
  • SQL language
  • Schema normalization
  • Data storage
  • Query processing and optimization
  • Transactions, concurrency, and recovery
  • Parallel/distributed databases
  • Databases and the Internet

Coursework and grading

Homework -  10 %
2 Midterms - 25 %
Final - 25 %
Project - 40%

Assignments submitted late will be graded as follows: up to 1 day late - 10 points will be deducted from the grade, up to 2 days late - 20 points  will be deducted.  Your assignment will not be graded beyond the second day past the deadline.  If for reasons outside your control you will not be able to submit an assignment on time, see me as soon as possible to discuss an alternate deadline.

Attendance policy

This course follows the University's attendance policy.  In short, if you will miss class for any reason you should let me know in advance,  unless this is not possible (e.g. sudden illness).  In any case, please let me know as soon as you are aware that will not be able to attend a class (e-mail is OK).  I will work with you to help you catch up on homework or exams if you have to miss any of the lectures.  

Academic integrity

I expect that the students taking this class fully adhere to the Code of Academic Integrity.  Please read this document in full if you have not already done so.  In addition, the University requires that you sign the Honor Pledge on every examination you turn in.  Please read the relevant excerpt from the Code of Academic Integrity (reproduced below).