CS4440 Emerging Database Technologies

Course Introduction

Attention: The information contained in this page is subject to changes.

Instructor: Professor Ling Liu
Office: KACB 3340, Phone: 5-1139, Email: lingliu@cc.gatech.edu


This is an advanced undergraduate course to introduce the students the emerging topics in database systems.  This is one of the three courses in the database track (the other two being: 4000 – Introduction to database systems, 4420 - Database Implementation). This course is especially designed to be a technology course geared for CS junior/senior students with emphasis on advanced concepts and algorithms in database systems, topics that are state-of-the-art research, or recent seminal contributions in the broad field of database and information systems.

Student Presentations: The course will be run using a seminar/discussion style.  Once in the semester, each student will have one opportunity to present a topic for 20 minutes inlcuding Q&A. Each week, a student will read two papers from a selection of 4-5 papers in the reading list and write a critique on each of the two papers.  Every Thursday’s class, starting from the next week, 2~3 students will present on an emerging topic (each) covered by one of the papers.  The student must get his or her presentation ratified by the instructor at least one week in advance of his/her presentation to ensure that the class presentations are of an acceptable standard.


Paper Discussions & Problems: Following each presentation there will be a discussion for 10 minutes and students will be given a small problem or short questions to answer.  Students will be evaluated on their participation in class discussions and on their answers to the problems/questions.

The course will be a team effort in which the instructor will provide overviews of topics in the first week and every Tuesday from the second week on. Each student will have one opportunity to present a technology topic of your interest selected from the reading list. Students will be teamed up in a pair to conduct  a review of a category of products related to the DB technology. The course project will be a three person team project, with proposal, in-class presentation, and final project demo.

Course Project: Students will be given a set of topics to choose from for their project.  Students can also suggest their own project topics and if the instructor is satisfied that the project deals with an "emerging topic" as opposed to an "established technology" and permits the project, the students can work on their suggested topics.  The project will be evaluated as a team project but each student must note their individual contributions and the contributions must be appropriate for a semester-long project.

Course Prerequisites
CS4400. For students who have taken an introduction to databases in other universities, you can get the waiver of the prerequisite from the instructor.

Students are expected to have taken Introduction to Database Systems (CS4440 or equivalent). Also Computer Networks, Parallel and Distributed Systems (CS 4230/6236) and High Performance Parallel Computing (CS 6230) are highly recommended for students interested in doing research in networked database systems and technologies. In addition, students are expected to have a solid grasp of Java/C/CGI programming. Sockets programming is not required but desirable.

Class Goals and Objectives

The goal is for each student in the class to have a lucid understanding of the emerging topics in database systems and related technologies as well as to have some hands-on experience through an emerging technology-driven semester long project. The scope of this course for 2007 includes the following topics:

Overview of emerging database applications and challenges

Mobile Database Management

Spatial Indexing Techniques

Data Clustering Algorithms

Stream databases

RFID data management

Web Search and Web IR

Data Mining and Privacy Preserving Data Mining

Role based Access Control

Data Warehouse and OLAP

The selection of technology-focused topics may change from year to year. We plan to cover most of them at a general introductory level. Manufacturing and engineering data management or scientific data management are important application areas, but they are covered elsewhere (e.g., CS 6754).

Student Work

Student work in this course will consist of various components:

  1. Written critiques of topics. Topics will come from class discussions and guest presentations as well as papers assigned for reading. Write a one-page critique for each of the two papers you read weekly. The critique due at every Friday midnight.
  2. Written Technology reviews of topics. Topics will come from weekly lecture and class discussions and guest presentations as well as papers assigned for reading. You can choose to write a minimum 2-page technology review instead of two reading critiques. The review is due at every Friday midnight.

Example: Write a minimum 2-page summary of the current state of mobile database technology addressing the following:

    1. What is the overall thrust in terms of products and goals of industry in this area?
    2. What technical solutions or standards exist--elaborate on them. Include protocols, data formats, architectures.
    3. State what problems remain to be solved and how industry is approaching them
    4. List a few research problems 


  1. Project Presentation: This will be done for one class period (90 mins.) by a team of 2-3 students. The last 2-3 weeks of the course will be devoted to this exercise. The idea is to present your project in three parts. (1) present the goal and applications of your project, (2) review what is available in the market in a particular category of products, and discussing why your project is novel. (3) present the basic concepts, architectures, design principles, implementation, and evaluation of the project. You are encouraged to show a demo that illustrates some important features, or sample application of the project(s).

Examples of product categories: (list to be revised)-

    1. ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems (e.g., SAP, BAAN, J.D. Edwards)
    2. CRM (customer relationship management) products (e.g., Siebel, PeopleSoft)
    3. Workflow Modeling and management tools (e.g., Flowmark)
    4. Transaction Management Tools (e.g., Tibco, MQ series)
    5. Non-standard Data management Systems (e.g., extensions of Oracle, DB2, Sybase etc.)
    6. Application Servers (e.g. WebLogic, WebSphere etc.)
    7. Data warehousing or Data Mining Products
    8. ETL (Extraction, Transformation, Loading) tools (e.g., ETI Extract, Prism’s Warehouse Manager, Carleton’s Passport)
    9. Querying and Browsing tools
    10. Search Engines and Web Information Retrieval Products
    11. Data Privacy and Data Security Products


  1. Team project: Each project can be carried out by a team of 2~3 students.
  2. Term Paper: Each student will do some either a technology review of your interest either related to his/her team project theme or on a different topic outside its project scope. A 10 page technical review should be written to demonstrate a deeper understanding of some area and is treated as a substitute for the final exam.


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