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This is an archived syllabus from 2013-2014

COMP60731 Advanced Database Management Systems syllabus 2013-2014

COMP60731 Advanced Database Management Systems

Level 6
Credits: 15
Enrolled students: 27

Course leader: Alvaro A. A. Fernandes

Additional staff: view all staff

Assessment methods

  • 50% Written exam
  • 50% Coursework
Sem 1 P2 Lecture 2.15 Mon 09:00 - 09:00 -
Themes to which this unit belongs
  • Managing Data


This course unit offers an introduction to the latest, cutting-edge research outcomes in the area of database management systems (DBMSs). It starts with a brief overview of the internal architecture of traditional DBMSs, and proceeds to cover a range of advanced systems that extend that architecture to different execution environments than the classical, centralized one. The viewpoint adopted throughout is systems-oriented and research-oriented. Focus falls on the impacts on classical query processing functionality (i.e., impacts on other DBMS-provided services such as storage, concurrency and transaction management are largely ignored).

The delivery has aspects of a seminar module, i.e., the lectures, as well as the coursework, will centre around, and be driven by, research papers that will be assigned for advance reading.

There no labs with lab sheets for practicing skills on programming or design. Where available, pointers are given to implementations of the systems discussed, detailed use or exploration of tools is not an integral part of the unit as most of the technology studied only exists in the form of unstable research prototypes.

This course unit is about database management systems as systems. Therefore, it concerns itself much more with how DBMSs systems are built, and not as much with how they are used to support applications. It should appeal more to students who enjoy understanding how systems can be made to deliver advanced, challenging functionality. It is possibly less appealing to students who are more interested in how advanced technologies can be deployed, say, in businesses in response to business needs, although the course unit does attempt to explain the motivations behind the technological advances it covers.


The aim of this course unit is to survey the research landscape of advanced DBMS systems with a view to understanding how DBMS research is responding to challenges arising from new software architectures, new kinds of data resource and new computational fabrics.


Week 1

  • Architecture, Components: The Classical Case and Variations [1]
  • The Relational Case: Data Models, Databases, Languages [4]
  • Query Processing (1): Overview, Equivalence-Based Rewriting [1]

Week 2

  • Query Processing (2): Algorithms, Evaluation Strategies, Cost-Based Optimization [3]
  • Parallel DBMSs [2]

Week 3

  • Distributed DBMSs and Dataspaces [5]

Week 4

  • Massively-Parallel/Massively-Distributed Data Processing [3]
  • NoSQL and Cloud Databases [2]

Week 5

  • Stream Data Management [2]
  • Sensor Network Data Management [2]

Additional Information

Additional information, including details of assessed coursework can be found at the course unit webpage (


There are four weekly tests, from Week 2 onwards, covering the material taught in the previous week, including assigned readings.

There is a final report, in which students are assigned readings and are asked to exercise their critical judgements based on the knowledge acquired through the course unit.

Special Resources

No special resources are required, but students should note the need for them to be proficient in the tools required to produce technical reports, as this skill contributes to the coursework mark.

Teaching methods


Time devoted to coursework outside lectures amounts to 12 hours each week for five weeks, plus 20 hours for the final coursework.

Feedback methods

Weekly tests

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam (2 hours)
  • Lectures (26 hours)
  • Practical classes & workshops (10 hours)

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Problem solving

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, a student will be able to:

Learning outcomes are detailed on the COMP60731 course unit syllabus page on the School of Computer Science's website for current students.

Reading list

No reading list found for COMP60731.

Additional notes

Course unit materials

Links to course unit teaching materials can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.