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Database System Principles, 7.5 Credits

Swedish name: Databasteknik

This syllabus is valid: 2017-07-24 and until further notice

Course code: 5DV187

Credit points: 7.5

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Computing Science: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: TH teknisk betygsskala

Responsible department: Department of Computing Science

Established by: Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 2017-08-08


This course gives the student insight into the techniques that underpin modern database systems as well as their application. The course delves into the data structures and algorithms to support efficient data access, query optimization and transaction processing. The course also introduces data warehouses, information retrieval and semantic web technologies. Students explore their own particular interests in these wide ranging fields through student initiated final projects.

The course is divided into two parts: Part 1, principles, 4 hp and Part 2, practice, 3.5 hp.

Expected learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
After completing the course the student will be able to:
  • exhibit competence in selected advanced SQL techniques (e.g. triggers, data cubes, authorization, etc.) for relational database systems (FSR1);
  • in precise technical terms, describe and contrast the various data structures and algorithms employed for internal storage in database-management systems (FSR2);
  • comprehend the algorithms used for internal optimization of SQL queries in modern database-management systems (FSR3);
  • exhibit an understanding of the properties and use of concurrency models for transactions in modern database-management systems (FSR4);
  • explain the techniques that underlie web-based keyword search, index construction and the
    page-rank algorithm (FSR5);
  • gain working familiarity with semantic web technologies (e.g. RDF, OWL, etc.) (FSR6);
Skills and abilities
After completing the course the student will be able to:
  • compute quality parameters, such as size and performance, for physical representations of relational data (FSR7);
  • identify appropriate isolation levels for a set of transactions for a given use case (FSR8);
  • use modern tools to index and search a large document collection via keyword search (FSR9);

Required Knowledge

Univ: To be admitted you must have (or equivalent) 90 ECTS-credits including 60 ECTS-credits in Computing Science or two years of completed studies within a study programme (120 ECTS-credits). In both cases, including at least 7.5 ECTS-credits in  Database Management (e.g. 5DV119) and the course C-programming and Unix (e.g. 5DV088). A Bachelor's degree with a major in Computer Science is considered to be equivalent.

Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper Secondary course English A/5. Where the language of instruction is Swedish, applicants must prove proficiency in Swedish to the level required for basic eligibility for higher studies.

Form of instruction

Instruction consists of lectures and mandatory assignments. In addition to scheduled activities, individual work with the material is also required.

Examination modes

Part 1, Principles, has a maximum 500 points and consists of four recitations (400 points) and a short exam (100 points). The recitations are done by handing in a written solution to given problems and then participating in the recitations. Students are randomly chosen to present their solutions and the others students are expected do discuss and contribute to the solutions presented. The short exam is a written exam in halls. The grades given are Fail (U) or Pass (G) and, in order to pass this part, the student must amass at least 250 of these points.

If a student fails at the exam and/or the recitations a re-exam and a catch-up recitation is given. Students failing this
second oppurtunity for the recitation can re-attend recitations the next time the course is given. The written exam will be
offered in total three times each year.

Part 2, Practice, has a maximum 500 points, based on a project work.The grades given are Fail (U) or Pass (G) and, in order to pass this part, the student must amass at least 250 of these points. Projects are done in groups of 1-2 persons and consists of
  1. a proposal phase (a written report),
  2. a presentation phase (a presentation done as a video uploaded to the course website toghether with a written report),
  3. a assessment phase (where the students should do an evaluation of their own and all other projects and hand in a summary of the evaluations)
If a group fails, they may resubmit the project at the time of the re-exam, but may only receive 250 points on a re-graded project.

On the course as a whole, the grades given are Fail (U), Pass (3) or Pass with Merit (4), or Pass with Distinction (5). The grade for the entire course is set when the student has passed both parts and is determined by how many total points are amassed according to the following scale:
Pass with Distinction (5): p >= 900
Pass with Merit (4): 900 > p >= 750
Pass (3): 750 > p >= 500
Fail (U): 500 > p

A student who has passed an examination may not be re-examined.

A student who has taken two tests for a course or segment of a course, without passing, has the right to have another
examiner appointed, unless there exist special reasons (Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 6, section 22). Requests for
new examiners are made to the head of the Department of Computing Science.

Examination based on this syllabus is guaranteed for two years after the first registration on the course. This applies even
if the course is closed down and this syllabus ceased to be valid.

Students have the right to be tried on prior education or equivalent knowledge and skills acquired in the profession can be
credited for the same education at Umeå University. Application for credit is submitted to the Student Services / Degree.
For more information on credit transfer available at Umeå University's student web,, and the Higher
Education Ordinance (Chapter 6). A refusal of crediting can be appealed (Higher Education chapter 12) to the University
Appeals Board. This applies to the whole as part of the application for credit transfer is rejected.

Other regulations

This course may not be used towards a degree, in whole or in part, togehter with another course of similar content. If in doubt, consult the student counselors at the Department of Computing Science and / or the program director of your program. In particular, this course can not, in whole or in part, be used in a degree together with 5DV120 Principles of Database Systems.

Course connections to programmes and degrees
The course is a mandatory course for the Master's Programme in Computing Science.
The course can be part of the fulfilment of 45 credits (at least 37.5 of these on advanced level) within Computer Science when pursuing a specialization in Computer Science within a degree of Master of Science (Two Years) with Computing Science as Main Field of Study.