CS 4320 - Introduction to Database Systems

General Information


Topics Covered

Topics from Fall 2012:

  • ER Model
  • Relational Model
  • Relational Algebra
  • SQL
  • Disks and Files
  • Indexes (Hash and Tree Structured)
  • External Sorting
  • Operator Implementation
  • Query Optimization
  • Concurrency Control (in context of a DB)
  • Recovery
  • Normal Forms
  • Database Tuning
  • 2PC
  • Data warehousing
  • Chord, Amazon Dynamo, MapReduce, PIG


As from Fall 2012:

There are four assignments in total, and each one takes only a couple of hours if you are on top of the materials.

As from Fall 2013:

There are five assignments; most took a couple hours, but the programming ones can take longer if you get stuck as you are implementing very “pseudo” pseudocode. I spent over 12 hours on the second assignment and still failed it. The class decreases in workload as the semester goes on, which is really great because most other classes are the opposite.

General Advice

As From Fall 2012:

Understanding every point the professor makes in class is important. It usually takes you more time to figure out something by reading the textbook or reviewing the lecture notes after class than discussing and getting it clear in class.

Keep yourself on top of the material. Once you miss a point, it is likely that you will have a hard time understanding the following materials.

Wish I had read the above advice before taking this class. It is very easy to miss material and then struggle to catch up.

Random things about the class FA 13: The majority of students are grad students. The mean on the prelim was a 79%, and on the final was a 65%. The lectures are posted on CMS. The textbook is very helpful if you can put in the time to read it.


Past Offerings

Semester Time Professor Median Grade Course Page
Fall 2013 MWF 2:30 - 3:20 Lucja Kot A http://www.cs.cornell.edu/Courses/cs4320/2013fa/


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