Course Overview

Database systems were around for decades with a primary goal of managing users' data. While researchers have invested tremendously in the past few decades to build robust and scalable database systems, there have been recent dramatic changes that affected the database research which include new hardware, big data, and new applications requirements.

The goal of this course is to introduce the students to the latest research trends in database systems. The course is based on the recent research literature in major database conferences and journals. By the end of this course, students should be aware of the active research topics in database systems and possibly identify new research topics of their own. Students will also get a hands-on experience by working on a research problem of their choice individually or in groups.

Course Information

Time: Tuesday & Thursday - 11:10AM - 12:30PM
Location: Winston Chung Hall - Room 141 (Floormap)
Professor: Ahmed Eldawy
Office: 357 WCH
Office hours: Tuesday & Thursday 10:00 am to 11:00 am
Texbook: No textbook. The course will be based on recent research papers


The course is based on a series of seminars. The first three seminars, given by the instructor, will layout the main research topics covered in the course. Later on, each student will present two to three papers. The presenter should introduce the problem in the presented work, the motivation behind it, and the key idea of the solution. Students should also present their own feedback on the paper, i.e., strong and weak points, and highlight any open research problems they identify. Non-presenting students will be required to submit a short report that summarizes each presentation and provides a feedback on the presentation.

In addition to the presentations, a major part of the course is a quarter-long project probably about a topic that has been presented. The project can be in one of the following categories:

  1. New research idea: A prototype implementation of a new research idea that addresses one of the drawbacks or limitations of an existing research work. Some of the existing work is available as open source which make it easier to extend it and address the problem.
  2. Benchmark: An experimental comparison and evaluation of existing work on a specific problem. Students are not supposed to reimplement all of the existing solution. Rather, they should be able to reuse an existing code base with minor changes to run the benchmark. The main contribution in the benchmark is defining which datasets to use, which queries to run, running the experiments, and interpreting the results.
  3. Experimental Study: In this project, students will focus on one existing work and provide a thorough experimental evaluation for that work. The experimental study should verify the existing experiments presented in the original paper, if any, as well as proposing a few additional experiments that go beyond what is already published. Interpretations of the results could open new research directions.
  4. Survey: With the extensive research efforts in the topics covered in this course, a survey paper should summarize and categorize the major research contributions in a specific area. The survey should not be a mere summarization of existing papers, rather, the students should provide their own insight on the surveyed body of work. For example, they can provide a categorization or a taxonomy that highlights that major research directions in that area. Students can also identify the open research problems that were hardly addressed in the literature.