Learning outcomes of the course unit
Knowledge and understanding
The course is divided in two parts. The goal of the first part is to introduce Data Base Management Systems, with special regard to those based on the relational data model, and the many ways to interact with them. The second part of the course introduces the methodologies and techniques that are needed for a correct design of a relational database.
Applying knowledge and understanding
The theoretical notions are actively used for the design and implementation of relational data bases in the context of a specific DBMS (PostgreSQL). The exercises on the use of the SQL language are primarily focused on the correctness, readability and portability of queries. The exercises on data base design are focused on evaluating the adequacy of the schema to the application context, as well as on the evaluation of its robustness and flexibility.
The part of the course dedicated to data base design shows that the same design problem can be tackled and solved in different ways: the student should therefore critically compare the design alternatives, stressing pros and conses.
The exercises on the design of data bases require the ability to understand and effectively communicate the main characteristics of the specific application considered, at different levels of abstraction. The initial phases of the design, focused on requirement analysis, emphasizes communication skills in a non-specialized context. The other phases, which are closer to the implementation, will exercise the ability to effectively communicate at a more technical level.
The theoretical study and practical application of the basic notions of relational DBMS, besides being mandatory in the context of a Computer Science degree, are also essential to any further study on data base systems, also allowing for a better understanding of technological advances in the field.
The knowledge of basic programming languages concepts is mandatory.
The knowledge of the basic concepts of operating systems and
communication networks is also helpful (even though not strictly
Course contents summary
Introduction to Data Base Management Systems.
The relational data model.
Relational algebra and relational calculus.
The SQL language.
Interfacing SQL with mainstream programming languages.
Security and access right management.
Database design methodologies: conceptual, logical and phisical design
of the data base.
The Entity-Relationship model.
Normalization of database schemas.
The course will also introduce the student to a specific Data Base
Management System (PostgreSQL), which will be used to rediscuss, in a
practical context, the topics listed above.
P. Atzeni, S. Ceri, P. Fraternali, S. Paraboschi, R. Torlone.
Basi di dati,
McGraw-Hill, 2018 (5th edition).
The PostgreSQL Global Development Group
Lectures, guided exercises.
Assessment methods and criteria
Note: assessment methods may be modified depending on the evolution of the sanitary emergency.
The exam consists of a written test and an optional oral interview.
The written test is composed of exercises and open questions on the course contents; the oral interview consists in further questions on the course contents and/or a discussion of the written test. The oral interview, if any, must occur in the same exam slot as the written test.
Students with a grade between 18 and 25 in the written test will pass the exam (without the oral interview); the oral interview is reserved to students with a grade greater than 25 or between 16 and 17 in the written test.
There will be a mid-term written test with exercises on the first part of the course contents; students passing the mid-term test will be dispensed with part of the final written test and their grade on the mid-term test will concur in forming the overall grade of the written test. The mid-term test keeps its validity for all the exam slots of the corresponding academic year.