What is this class about?

Comp115 Syllabus

Fundamental concepts of database management systems. Topics include: data models (relational, object-oriented, and others); the SQL query language; implementation techniques of database management systems (storage and index structures, concurrency control, recovery, and query processing); management of unstructured and semistructured data; and scientific data collections.

Why should I take this class?

Our every day activities, our business and government management activities, and scientific discovery today are heavily based on generating, storing, managing, and accessing massive amounts of data.

We live in a data-driven world.

Database systems provide the necessary infrastructure to manage huge data collections. This class serves as a comprehensive introduction in the key concepts of the architecture of modern database systems. We will discuss both traditional approaches used modern trends that shape the data management industry today. The primary focus of the course will be on the core concepts of the internals of database systems, covering query processing, storage and memory management, query optimization, transactional processing, recovery, as well as SQL and data modeling. We will also discuss the history of database systems and their evolution over the years.


In this class we will use big parts of the seminal textbook Database Management Systems, by Raghu Ramakrishnan and Johannes Gehrke, and recent research papers that cover recent trends in data management.

Additional Reading Material


In every class two students will be assigned to take notes, in order to maintain a document with collaborative notes (allowing later all students to enrich this document further). Collaborative notes is part of your class participation grade, and it is going to be helpful in reciting the material and also seeing how other classmates perceive it. You can find on the top right of the website the link to the collaborative notes.


Comp15. Programming skills. Systems skills.


Class Participation: 5%
Homeworks: 15%
Project 0: 5%
Project: 30%
Midterm 1: 20%
Midterm 2: 25%

SQL Hands-On Test (bonus): 5%
Homework 4 (bonus): 2%

Late policy

Students needing additional time may submit assignments late, up to four (4) days after the assignment due date with increasing penalty. Students who submit work with delay one (1) day will receive a penalty of 5%, two (2) days 10%, and up to four (4) days 25%.

A homework assignment can no longer be submitted after four days.

A project submission will still be accepted beyond the four days period after communication with the instructor, at the penalty of 25%.

Additional Resources

Tufts University values the diversity of our students, staff, and faculty; recognizing the important contribution each student makes to our unique community. Tufts is committed to providing equal access and support to all qualified students through the provision of reasonable accommodations so that each student may fully participate in the Tufts experience. If you have a disability that requires reasonable accommodations, please contact the Student Accessibility Services office at or 617-627-4539 to make an appointment with an SAS representative to determine appropriate accommodations. Please be aware that accommodations cannot be enacted retroactively, making timeliness a critical aspect for their provision.


Discussion among students for assignments and for the project is both encouraged and expected, however, the details of each submission (assignment or project) should be original, showing the unique thinking of each student (or group of students accordingly).

While computers enable easy copying and collaboration both with other students and materials from the Internet, it is possible to use these same computers to detect plagiarism and collaboration. The course staff reserves the right to use any available computational tools, or to write new tools to search for infractions. In addition, all work turned in is the property of Tufts University.

Students should read the Tufts handbook on academic integrity located on the judicial affairs website:

If any student does not understand these terms or any material outlined in The Academic Code of Conduct it is his/her responsibility to talk to the professor.