Advanced Database Systems

Subject COMP90050 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours, made up of 24 one-hour lectures (two per week) and 12 one-hour workshops (one per week)
Total Time Commitment:

200 hours.


One of the following:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 2


Completion of 50 points of third year computing study or equivalent.

GRADUATE Admission to Masters degree.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

433-421 Web Technologies and Applications
433-461 High Performance Database Systems
433-621 Web Technologies and Applications
433-661 High Performance Database Systems

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:



Subject Overview:


Many applications require access to very large amounts of data. These applications often require reliability (data must not be lost even in the presence of hardware failures), and the ability to retrieve and process the data very efficiently.

The subject will cover the technologies used in advanced database systems. Topics covered will include: transactions, including concurrency, reliability (the ACID properties) and performance; and indexing of both structured and unstructured data. The subject will also cover additional topics such as: uncertain data; Xquery; the Semantic Web and the Resource Description Framework; dataspaces and data provenance; datacentres; and data archiving.


Topics include:

  • Introduction to High Performance Database Systems
  • Issues of Performance and Reliability
  • Transaction Processing
  • Recovery from Failures
  • Map Reduce Models
Learning Outcomes:


On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Understand issues related performance and reliability in building applications involving large-scale database systems
  2. Understand Database Technologies used in large-scale applications such as Google search Engines
  3. Understand the concepts and technologies underpinning new forms of Web data
  4. Deep knowledge of transaction processing and recovery from failures and concepts employed in modern database systems

  • Two written assignments, due in approximately weeks 6 and 11, of approximately 1750 words each (20% each)

The first assignment is to consolidate the concepts related to performance issues that depend on Hardware Technologies, Reliability, Transaction processing and various degrees of Isolation. The second assignment deals with various database technologies employed in the state of the art applications such as Google, Microsoft search engines and the emerging new trends in database technologies such as in-memory database systems, map reduce based large scale database applications. The assignments are designed so that to attain Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) 1-4 and all General skills.

  • And a 2-hour end-of-semester written examination (60%). This test assesses all topics covered in the subject.
Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject the student should have the following skills:

  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation, and solution
  • Ability to utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operational performance
  • Ability to manage information and documentation
  • Capacity for creativity and innovation
  • Ability to communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large


This course is taught over 12 weeks, each week with two one hour formal lectures and a one hour workshop. During the workshops the students are given problems to solve to reinforce the previous week’s lecturing material. The problem solving nature of the workshops is geared for the students to learn and understand the concepts of the subject material.


Transaction Processing: Concepts and Techniques (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Data Management Systems) by Jim Gray and Andreas Reuter

Lecture slides

Addition published articles in Journals and Conferences


The concepts developed in the subject are relevant to many fields including IT, Engineering, Commerce, Government Organizations, Research Institutes and Institutions in Medicine where large scale database are used. Many industries are moving their applications to Cloud Platforms and understanding performance issues will be key to success to such transformations.

Related Course(s): Master of Engineering in Distributed Computing
Master of Information Technology
Master of Information Technology
Master of Information Technology
Master of Philosophy - Engineering
Master of Science (Computer Science)
Master of Software Systems Engineering
Ph.D.- Engineering
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: B-ENG Software Engineering stream
Master of Engineering (Software with Business)
Master of Engineering (Software)

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