Fall 2020

August 29 Announcement: Looking for teammate

An excel spreadsheet is created to help students look for teammates.

August 25 Announcement: Office Hours Start from Week 2

All teaching staff office hours are released. Office hours start from Week 2.

August 22 Announcement: Welcome to COP4710

New semester starts. DB course on M/W/F 1:25AM-2:15PM

COP 4710-0001 Databases (syllabus, Project Description)

Course Information

COP 4710-0001 Databases
Date: Aug 24-Dec 4, 2020
Time: M/W/F 1:25AM-2:15PM
Venue: 1st Class via Zoom
Venue: Other Classes via Youtube

Instructor Information

Instructor: Jiawei Zhang
Email: jzhang [AT] cs.fsu.edu
Office: https://fsu.zoom.us/j/3864868198
Office Hours: 11:30-1:00PM (Monday)

TA: Bing Jiao (Assignments, Exams)
Email: bj18c@my.fsu.edu
Office Hours: 10:00-11:00AM (Friday)
Online Office: Link to Join
Meeting ID: 553 456 8604
Password: 4Zn5fn

TA: Alexandru Chiciu (Assignments, Exams)
Email: ac16ad@my.fsu.edu
Office Hours: 2:00-3:00PM (Tuesday)
Online Office: Link to Join
Meeting ID: 999 5732 4629
Password: OH4710

TA: Haopeng Zhang (Projet)
Email: hz19e@my.fsu.edu
Office Hours: 3:00-5:00PM (Wednesday)
Online Office: Link to Join
Meeting ID: 733 062 3325
Password: 123

Course Description

As the first introductory course for databases, COP4710 studies the fundamentals of relational database management systems (RDBMS). Materials include, but are not limited to, the ER(Entity-Relationship) model and its mapping to the relational data model, the algebraic language in the relational data model and its relationship to the commercial relational query language: SQL, database design that conforms to different normal forms, database applications, database indexing, transaction management, recovery and other advanced topics. Furthermore, students will participate in a semester-long project and build a web-based database system (e.g., an online bookstore) starting with a customer specification. In summary, this course is about the principles of designing and developing applications using relational database systems.

Topics Covered

  • ER (Entity-Relationship) model
  • algebraic language in the relational data model
  • commercial relational query language: SQL
  • database design, indexing, applications
  • transaction management
  • recovery
  • misc.


Required textbook.

  • Database Systems: The Complete Book 2nd edition, by Hector Garcia-Molina, Jeff Ullman and Jennifer Widom. ISBN: 978-0131873254, Prentice Hall, 2008.

Recommended textbook.

  • Database Management Systems 3rd edition, by Raghu Ramakrishnan and Johannes Gehrke. ISBN: 978-0072465631, McGraw-Hill, 2002.
  • Database System Concepts 6th edition, by Avi Silberschatz, Henry Korth and S. Sudarshan. ISBN: 978-0073523321, McGraw-Hill, 2010.
  • Fundamentals of Database Systems 7th edition, by Ramez Elmasri, and Shamkant Navathe. ISBN: 978-0133970777, Pearson, 2016.


Students should come with good programming skills. COP3330: Object-oriented Programming and MAD2104: Discrete Mathematics or equivalents courses are required. If you are not sure whether you have the right background, please contact the instructor.

Course Format

The course is lecture-based with two examinations (midterm and final). There are individual assignments and a group-level programming project. In order to encourage attending classes and participating in discussions, there will be several in-class quizzes for students.

  • Lectures and Class Participation: We strongly encourage (and appreciate!) students to attend classes, because effective lectures rely on students' participation to raise questions and contribute in discussions. Although we probably will have a large class, we will strive to maintain interactive class discussions if possible. We will provide lecture notes before class, which will be posted on the Schedule page.
  • Questions: We encourage students discussing their questions and problems first with their group peers and classmates. This way, you can get immediate help and also learn to communicate "professionally" with your peers. In any case for more thorough discussion, come to the office hours of TA's and the instructor's. Any announcement will be posted on the Course page. Make sure to check it frequently enough to stay informed.
  • Assignment: There will be a few written assignments spaced out over the course of the semester. All the assignments should be done individually by the students. Assignments should be submitted before the class begins on the due dates.
  • Project: There will be a semester-long project, which involves significant database application programming. The project will be structured with several milestones due in the course of the semester, leading to a demo and write-up near the end of the semester.

Course Schedule and Progress

Schedule Sheet Link

Youtube Channel


16/16 Weeks


4/4 Assignments


Final Finished


Stage 4 Evaluation

Grading Policy

The course grade will break down as follows

  • Assignment: 20%
  • Project: 30%
  • Midterm exam: 10%
  • Final exam: 35%
  • Quizzes: 5%
Any regrading request should be submitted to the instructor or the TA(s) within one week since the graded deliverables are handed out to the students. Final Grade
  • A: [100-90], A-: (90-85];
  • B+ (85-80], B: (80-75], B-: (75-70];
  • C: (70-60];
  • F: (60-0].
This table indicates minimum guaranteed grades. Under certain limited circumstances (e.g., an unreasonably hard exam), we may select more generous ranges or scale the scores to adjust.

Late Submission Policy

  • Late assignments will not ordinarily be accepted. If, for some compelling reason, you cannot hand in an assignment on time, please contact the TA or instructor as far in advance as possible. Written assignments or project deliverables are due at the beginning of a class, you should hand them in at the beginning of the class
  • No credit will be given to late programming projects
  • No make-up exams (except under extremely unusual circumstances)

Other Issues

Gemeral Policy

  • University Attendance Policy: Excused absences include documented illness, deaths in the family and other documented crises, call to active military duty or jury duty, religious holy days, and official University activities. These absences will be accommodated in a way that does not arbitrarily penalize students who have a valid excuse. Consideration will also be given to students whose dependent children experience serious illness.
  • Academic Honor Policy: The Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the University's expectations for the integrity of students' academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process. Students are responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living up to their pledge to "...be honest and truthful and... [to] strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University."
  • Syllabus Change Policy: Except for changes that substantially affect implementation of the evaluation (grading) statement, this syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advance notice.
Collaboration/Academic Honesty: All course participants must adhere to the academic honor code of FSU which is available in the student handbook. All instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the university. Every student must write his/her own assignment/code. Showing your code or assignment to others is a violation of academic honesty. It is your responsibility to ensure that others cannot access your code or assignment. Consulting related textbooks, papers and information available on Internet for your assignment and homework is fine. However, copying a large portion of such information will be considered as academic dishonesty. If you borrow a small piece of any such information, please acknowledge that in your assignment. Please see the following web site for a complete explanation of the Academic Honor Code.
Student Disabilities: Americans With Disabilities Act: Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should: (1) register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center; (2) bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type. This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request. For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact the: Student Disability Resource Center: 874 Traditions Way, 108 Student Services Building, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4167. (850) 644-9566 (voice), (850) 644-8504 (TDD), sdrc@admin.fsu.edu, http://www.disabilitycenter.fsu.edu/.

Other Courses Taught Before


All men by nature desire to know.

- Aristotle

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.

- Bertrand Russell


E-mail: jzhang [AT] cs [dot] fsu [dot] edu
Phone: +1 (850) 645-2174
Fax: (850)-644-0058


Room 171 Love Building
1017 Academic Way
Department of Computer Science
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32304
United States

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