CS4440 Emerging Database Technologies

(Fall 2010)

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General Information


Instructor: Professor Ling Liu

Lecture: 9:35am - 10:55am TuTh, Klause 1456

Office: KACB 3340, Phone: 5-1139, Email: lingliu AT cc DOT gatech DOT edu
Office hours: 11am -12noon TuTh or by appointment

Course TA:TBA
Email: TBA AT cc DOT gatech DOT edu
Office hours: by appointment
Newsgroup news:git.cc.class.cs4440

Course Objectives and Description

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: CS4000: Introduction to database systems, CS4420 - 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.  Each student will have one opportunity to present a topic for 20 minutes, including Q&A.  There will be a reading assignment for 10 weeks out of 16 weeks in the semester. In each of these 10 weeks, a student will read ONE paper from a given selection of 4~10 papers in the reading list (see course note & schedule page for the selection list) and write a critique on the paper you choose to read.  Every Thursdays class, starting from the next week, 3 students will present on an emerging topic (each) covered by one of the papers in the topic covered in that week.  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 1-10 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 4 weeks and every Tuesday from the 5th 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 2-3 person team project, with a proposal, in-class presentation, final project demo, and project deliverable at the end.

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 includes the following topics:

1.      Overview of emerging database applications and challenges

2.      Mobile Database Management

3.      Spatial Indexing Techniques

4.      Data Clustering Algorithms

5.      Data Management Issues in Social Networks and Network Computing Systems

6.      Data Mining and Privacy Preserving Data Mining

7.      Web Search and Web IR

8.      Role based Access Control

9.      Data Warehouse and OLAP

10.  RFID and Sensor Stream data management

11.  Business Process and Workflow Management

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). A detailed description of course structure and administration can be found in Course Introduction.

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 the paper that you choose to read weekly. The critique due at every Friday midnight for the selected 10 weeks out of the 16 weeks and should be submitted on T-Square unless specified otherwise.
  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 or in the reading list. You are required write a minimum 10-page technology review due at the end of the semester.

Example: Write a 10-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 

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

    1. Mobile Location based Services
    2. ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems (e.g., SAP, BAAN, J.D. Edwards)
    3. CRM (customer relationship management) products (e.g., Siebel, PeopleSoft)
    4. Workflow Modeling and management tools (e.g., Flowmark)
    5. Transaction Management Tools (e.g., Tibco, MQ series)
    6. Non-standard Data management Systems (e.g., extensions of Oracle, DB2, Sybase etc.)
    7. Application Servers (e.g. WebLogic, WebSphere etc.)
    8. Data warehousing or Data Mining Products
    9. ETL (Extraction, Transformation, Loading) tools (e.g., ETI Extract, Prism\357\277\275s Warehouse Manager, Carleton\357\277\275s Passport)
    10. Querying and Browsing tools
    11. Search Engines and Web Information Retrieval Products
    12. Data Privacy and Data Security Products
    13. Social Network Services and Software Tools
    14. Data Management in Virtualized Cloud and Data Centers

  1. Project Presentation: Each project team will give a project presentation in class. The last 3 weeks of the course will be devoted to this exercise. Each project team will present your project to the class 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 and practical application of your project.


  1. Project Team: Each project can be carried out by a team of 2-3 students, and upon approval, an individual project is permitted.
  2. In Class Presentation and Term Paper: Each student will choose one reading assignment to be presented in class. In addition, each student will write a technology review on a topic of your interest either related to his/her team project theme or on a different topic outside his/her project scope. A 10 page technical review should be written to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the chosen area and subject. The technology review is used as the take-home open final exam.


  1. Reading list for the first 3-4 weeks will be provided by Friday of the first week of the class.
  2. Detailed schedule of topics covered will be updated each week on the course web site.
  3. A take-home exam may be given if deemed necessary.
  4. Class participation is important and will be used to settle borderline cases.


Grades will be computed using the tentative weighting scheme below:

Students who audit the course do not participate in any form of assignments or project or exams.

[Link to GT]

Last updated on August 17, 2010 by Ling Liu (lingliu@cc.gatech.edu)