CMSC 23500 Introduction to Database Systems (Spring 2009)

CMSC 23500


Sharon Salveter
Office: RY 150. Phone: 834-2773.
E-mail: salveter "at" uchicago "dot" edu
Office Hours: Tuesday 1:30 - 2:15 pm, Thursday 10 -11 am, and whenever else you can find me.

Borja Sotomayor Discussion/Lab TA
Office: RY 257-C
E-mail: borja "at" uchicago "dot" edu
Office Hours: Open door policy (see Asking questions below)

Xueyuan Zhou TA
Office: RY 177 c7
E-mail: zhouxy "at" uchicago "dot" edu
Office Hours: Open door policy (see Asking questions below)

Class Time
Lecture: Tuesday & Thursday 12:00 - 1:20 RY 277
Discussion: Tuesday, 4:30 - 5:50 in Maclab

Course Overview

This course is an introduction to database design and programming using the relational model. Topics include DBMS architecture, entity-relationship and relational models, relational algebra, relational calculus, functional dependencies and normal forms, web DBs and PHP, query optimization, and physical data organization. The lab section will guide students through the collaborative implementation of a relational database management system, allowing students to see topics such as physical data organization and DBMS architecture in practice, and exercise general skills such as collaborative software development.

The required text for the course is Fundamentals of Database Systems, 5th Edition, Elmasri and Navathe, Addison Wesley 2007. ISBN 0-321-36957-2. The website for the text is here.

More details about the course contents and organization can be found on the syllabus [PDF]. Files related to some lectures will be posted on the lecture schedule.


You will have a homework assignment every week. Homework will be available by Thursday morning, and be due at 7:00 pm the following Wednesday.

Make sure you have read and understood the "How to hand in homework assignments" section of the course syllabus .


Discussion/lab takes place every Tuesday from 4:30pm to 5:50pm, in the Handouts and other information is posted on the course's PhoenixForge site.


Asking questions

The TAs for this course have an open door policy for asking questions. Instead of setting fixed office hours, you are welcome to consult with the TA at any time. Nonetheless, you should try to give the TA, whenever possible, some advance warning of your visit (by e-mail) to make sure that he will be in his office at that time.

The preferred form of support for this course is though the course mailing list, which can be used to ask questions and share useful information with your classmates. In fact, we encourage that all questions about homework assignments, lab assignments, discussion/lab sessions, and databases in general be sent to the mailing list, and not directly to the instructor or the TA. This way, all your classmates will be able to benefit from the reply to your question.

You can subscribe to the mailing list in the following web page:

salveter "at" uchicago "dot" edu
borja "at" uchicago "dot" edu
zhouxy "at" uchicago "dot" edu
Last updated: March 30, 2009