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Database Systems

Instructor: Professor Abdullah Uz Tansel

Abdullah Uz Tansel received BS, MS and PhD degrees from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara Turkey. He also completed his MBA degree in the University of Southern California in. Dr. Tansel currently is a professor of Computer Information Systems at Baruch College. Professor Tansel headed the editorial board that published the first book on temporal databases in 1993. His research interests are database management systems, temporal databases, data mining, and semantic web. Dr. Tansel published many articles in the conferences and journals of ACM and IEEE.


Database Management Systems (DBMS) are vital components of modern information systems serving every type of organizations.  We can hardly envision any computer application that does not utilize a DBMS. Database applications are pervasive and range in size from in-memory databases to terra bytes or even larger in various applications domains such as commercial, spatial, biological, scientific applications. The course is designed to develop an understanding of the fundamental concepts and issues in database research and extend it to knowledge representation.

Course Objectives

  • Help students to raise their understanding of Knowledgebase and Databases.

  • Understand the role that DBMS play in different application domains and how they are used.

  • Identify problems and opportunities that can benefit from Knowledgebase and Databases support.

  • Understand the key DB components such as data modeling, query languages and query processing, etc. and identify the issues in them.

  • Understand key concepts in knowledge representation, ontologies and inferencing.

  • Develop an understanding of trends in the DBMS field.

  • Prepare students to do research in DBMS and/or knowledge representation.

  • Appreciate the crucial role that Knowledgebase and Databases play in students’ career as well as in society in the 21st century.

Course Content

The course focuses on the fundamentals of knowledgebase and relational database management systems, and the current developments in database theory and their practice. We will focus on theoretical aspects of the important issues in DBMS and knowledge representation. However, we will also give a chance to students who are interested in the practical and implementation aspects of DBMS.
Issues in database design, implementation, and application such as SQL, conceptual data modeling,  query languages, relational data model and nested relations, temporal databases, XML, ontologies, RDF, OWL, Medical Informatics and Diagnostic and Treatment systems are among the topics to be discussed.

Learning Goals

Because of its content and its emphasis on research, the course aims at achieving the following learning outcomes:

  • An appreciation of pervasive use of Knowledgebase and DBMS in different application domains.

  • Skills for devising data models and query languages.

  • Integration of Knowledgebase, DBs and other information technology components.

  • Skills to survey a DBMS topic and identify the issues and open problems.

  • Learning knowledge representation and inference methods.

  • Skills to formulate possible solutions and evaluate the performance of these solutions.

  • Ability to write a research report.

Course Requirements

The course does not require any exams. Each student will prepare a research report that surveys an issue in Knowledgebase or DBMS and tackles a possible problem in that area. Grading will be based on the attendance, student presentation, monthly progress reports and the final research report. Students can work in groups if they desire so, upon the consent of the instructor. I will provide a list of possible research problems that can reasonably be handled in a term. Student can pick a topic from this list or can also work on any database related topic approved by the instructor.  Although it is not required we will consider worthy reports for possible conference or journal publications.

Course Delivery

The course includes in the first half of the term lectures by the instructor about the essential topics to provide the students the necessary base for further research. In the second half we will read articles, students will present these articles and their surveys.