CS 4750 - Course Syllabus

Basic Info

2013 Spring Session
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 - 10:45 am
MEC 339

Instructor Information

Instructor: Prof. Mark Sherriff
Office: Rice 401
Office Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 2:00 - 3:00 pm; Tuesdays 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Phone: 982-2688
Email: sherriff@virginia.edu
Twitter: @MarkSherriff

Teaching Assistants: Devika Pisharoty and Chi Xiao
Primary Text

Database System Concepts, Sixth Edition
Abraham Silberschatz, Henry F. Korth, S. Sudarshan
McGraw-Hill / ISBN 978-0-07-352332-3

Supplemental Text Info at http://www.cs.yale.edu/homes/avi/db-book/
Course Description

"Introduces the fundamental concepts for design and development of database systems. Emphasizes relational data model and conceptual schema design using ER model, practical issues in commercial database systems, database design using functional dependencies, and other data models. Develops a working relational database for a realistic application." -UVa Course Description

The course will focus on four main concepts:
  1. Database Design - This will include design philosophies such as E-R and Relational Algebra, along with studies of normal forms for databases;
  2. Query Languages - The main topic will be an in-depth study of SQL, with an overview of other query languages, such as Query By Example;
  3. Physical Implementation - This will cover the basics of how the information in a database is stored and accessed on various systems; and
  4. Database Interfacing - The final project will deal with topics such as JSP, PHP, JQuery, AJAX, and MySQL.
Course Highlights

During this course, you will learn:
  1. different database design techniques and what makes a "good" database design;
  2. how to use SQL;
  3. how a database actually works; and
  4. different technologies for interfacing with and presenting information in a database in a semester-long project.
Course Requirements

You should meet the following requirements to take this class:
  1. Have taken CS 2150 with a C- or better;
  2. Good programming skills;
  3. Ability to pace yourself on a semester-long project during the course of the class; and
  4. Can attend class regularly.
The biggest problem that we have had in this class is students who take the class but really do not have good programming skills or time management skills to complete the project. If you do not feel like you can handle these things, talk to the instructor.
Course Schedule

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Your final course average will be calculated using the following method:

Homeworks - 20% - Each assignment has 20 points assigned to it, for a grand total of 100.
Mid-semester Exam - 25% - In Class Feb 26
Semester DB Project - 30% - Due April 25 by class start
Final Exam - 25% - 05/03 2:00 pm

Your final letter grade will be determined by the following scale:
A+ 100 98.000

Rounding - Grades by default will not be rounded in this course. Please see the grade breakdown here to determine where your grade falls.

Pass/Fail - A course average of 65.000 or higher is required for a pass.

A 97.999 93.000
A- 92.999 90.000
B+ 89.999 87.000
B 86.999 83.000
B- 82.999 80.000
C+ 79.999 77.000
C 76.999 73.000
C- 72.999 70.000
D+ 69.999 67.000
D 66.999 63.000
D- 62.999 60.000
F 59.999 0
Assessment Information

There will be five homework assignments during the course of the semester. The assignments will include questions regarding and taken from the chapters assigned for each lecture. Specific grading criteria will be provided with each assignment.

There will be two exams during the course of the semester. The first will cover the entire first half of the semester (Introduction, E-R diagrams, Relational Algebra, SQL, and other minor topics). The final exam will be 1/3 on the first half of the semester, and 2/3 on the second half. This is mainly because the second half's questions will require the information from the first half in order to complete them.

Semester DB Project
During the course of the semester, you will be expected to complete a project involving the creation of a database-related system. You will be provided a MySQL database account and web space that will be PHP enabled on CS servers. The project will entail the design of a database, with all accompanying evidence of its good design, along with a front-end application that will interface with the database through record gathering, inserting, deleting, etc. The project can either be done individually, or with a partner, depending on your availability to work with others. The project must be complex enough so that it is not a trivial exercise, but cannot be so complex as to take longer than two months of effort.
Class Management

  • Please feel free to stop by my office any time. I'm usually there 9:00-5:00 every day. However, it's always a good idea to email me before you come, just to make sure I'm there, and to make sure I don't leave early.
  • Also, feel free to call my office (982-2688) if you can't stop by.
  • I can't stress enough that email is the best way to get in touch with me. I check it literally every 5 minutes or so.
  • Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any problems, concerns, questions, or issues regarding the course, material, or anything else in the class.
  • Homework assignments will not be handed out in class. Everything will be available online.
  • Attendance in this class is vital to learning the material and making a good grade in this class.
  • Attendance will not specifically be taken every class, but it will be apparent who comes and who does not come on a regular basis.
  • If, however, you need to miss a class due to whatever reason, please just email me beforehand to let me know so I won't hold it against you later.
Homework Assignments
  • For your homework assignments, you may consult with any outside source you wish in the completion of your work. This includes classmates (in and out of this course), other textbooks, other faculty, etc.
  • However, if you do consult with any outside source (including and especially other classmates), you must cite each and every source that you consult and you must answer each question in your own words. I cannot stress this enough. Any homework that is a straight copy of anyone else's that is turned in with saying "we were working together and thus it's okay" will result in a grade of 0 for both homeworks. I simply ask that if you work together, take the time to understand the answer you are writing down, not to work on your penmanship.
  • Any misrepresentation of the work of others as your own work will be considered cheating and will be handled according to the University procedures on academic misconduct.
  • Anything turned in late be assessed an appropriate penalty at that time. Extreme circumstances will be considered if an assignment is turned in late, however this should be brought to my attention as soon as possible.
  • Any test that is missed due to any absence that is not a University Excused Absence will result in a zero (0) for that grade.
  • Any test that is missed due to a University Excused Absence or due to circumstances that are approved by me beforehand must be made up within a week of the missed test.
Semester DB Project
  • All code for the project must not be changed, updated, written to, or altered in any way after the beginning of class on the assigned due date. Any changes to the code after this time, even the most minor change, will result in a 20 point penalty.
Grading Concerns and Appeals
  • All regrade requests must be made within one week of the assignment being returned to the student. After that point, regrades may be done at my discretion.
  • Bottom line: the sooner you bring something to my attention, the sooner we can correct it. Do not expect me to be exceedingly generous if you bring HW1 and HW2 to me on the last day of class.
This Syllabus
  • This syllabus is to be considered a reference document that can and will be adjusted through the course of the semester to address changing needs. This syllabus can be changed at any time without notification. It is up to the student to monitor this page for any changes. Final authority on any decision in this course rests with the professor, not with this document.
  • In this course, there will be a focus on working well together and learning about the development process. A large portion of that process involves interpersonal skills and conflict management. Students and staff are all expected to treat each other with respect.
  • This includes, but certainly is not limited to:
    • Excessive web browsing during class
    • Disrespectful language, either verbally or through email
    • Promptness for all deadlines and class meetings
    • Quality work
  • Students can and will be penalized for unprofessional behavior.
Academic Integrity

The School of Engineering and Applied Science relies upon and cherishes its community of trust. We firmly endorse, uphold, and embrace the University's Honor principle that students will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor shall they tolerate those who do. We recognize that even one honor infraction can destroy an exemplary reputation that has taken years to build. Acting in a manner consistent with the principles of honor will benefit every member of the community both while enrolled in the Engineering School and in the future.

Students are expected to be familiar with the university honor code, including the section on academic fraud (http://www.virginia.edu/honor/fraud.html). Each assignment will describe allowed collaborations, and deviations from these will be considered Honor violations. If you have questions on what is allowable, ask! Unless otherwise noted, exams and individual assignments will be considered pledged that you have neither given nor received help. (Among other things, this means that you are not allowed to describe problems on an exam to a student who has not taken it yet. You are not allowed to show exam papers to another student or view another student's exam papers while working on an exam.) Send, receiving or otherwise copying electronic files that are part of course assignments are not allowed collaborations (except for those explicitly allowed in assignment instructions).

Assignments or exams where honor infractions or prohibited collaborations occur will receive a zero grade for that entire assignment or exam. Such infractions will also be submitted to the Honor Committee if that is appropriate. Students who have had prohibited collaborations may not be allowed to work with partners on remaining homeworks.
LNEC and Other Special Circumstances

If you have been identified as an LNEC student, please let the Center know you are taking this class. If you suspect you should be an LNEC student, please schedule an appointment with them for an evaluation. I happily and discretely provide the recommended accommodations for those students identified by the LNEC. Please contact me one week before an exam so we can make accommodations. Website: http://www.virginia.edu/studenthealth/lnec.html

If you have other special circumstances (athletics, other university-related activities, etc.) please contact your instructor and/or Head TA as soon as you know these may affect you in class.