Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Databases and their Implementations

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Information & Communication Technology

DESCRIPTION The unit starts with an introduction to databases and Database Management Systems (DBMS) in context of their role in Computer Information Systems. Also a quick summary of major developments of databases, DBMSs and related computing artifacts is presented - e.g. for example the development of CODASYL, ANSI/SPARC generalisation of databases and DBMSs, and the emergence of the relational model. Also the main sub-systems expected in any DBMS are explained.

The first effort of this unit is the understanding of data models and an introduction to a language to model database schemas at an abstract level. This language is graphical in its representation of models and is independent of any implementation or physical details - the favourite of this unit is Chen's notation (and its derivatives).

The second effort is an introduction of a database model that is popular with the majority of implementations - Codd's relational model. The initial part concerns understanding the relational data model. We then study various languages that interact over the relational model: the relational algebra and Structured Query Language (SQL). We also study how a database schema, specified in an ERM diagram is converted into a set of SQL data definition constructs (e.g. CREATE TABLE commands). Related to the relational database model is our concern to control data redundancy in a database design, consequently we study Codd's original normal forms and their later refinements. The third part of the units describes practical facets that deal with striving for the DBMS to make efficient use of the available resources (e.g. RAM, HDs, communication networks, tapes). These include data sharing, query processing, and sophisticated data definition and manipulation languages. Also an important part is the emphasis of a multi tier implementation of a computer information systems (three tier for presentation, business and data processing) and how and with what can software developers design, implement and test these tiers.

Reading List:

Fundamentals of Database Systems, by Ramez Elmasri, Shamkant B. Navathe, Addison Wesley


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 20%
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 80%

LECTURER/S Christopher Porter

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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.