Note that in response to COVID-19, assuming that there is no opportunity to have final assessment (exam) on-campus this semester, the plan is that assessment will now be:
  • 55% internal, as shown below;
  • 10% from individual oral exams, with each student meeting privately with teaching staff for around 10 minutes;
  • 35% from an open book exam, with an estimated duration of around two hours.
However, these plans are subject to change depending on the University's circumstances. Any changes will be noted here (and in announcements and email).

1. Data Modelling (8%)

Due 4pm Friday March 20

The assignment specification is available in PDF form.

2. Oracle Database Administration (15% 25% of final assessment)

Part 1 (5% of final assessment)

Due 4pm Friday April 17

Part 2 (20% of final assessment)

Due 4pm Friday May 22

Acting in all respects in the role of a (solitary) DBA working for a commercial company, you must complete tasks and solve problems as presented by your manager and clients. Assessment is formative - the problems presented will build on experience gained in solving previous problems. It runs over a number of weeks, and you will need to establish a working database in the early stages in order to have time to progress through the problems.
The scenario for the assignment - which you should read before starting the assignment - is available in 3 formats :-

The assignment specification is also available in 3 formats :-

3. Project (17% 22% of final assessment)

Due 4pm Monday May 25


To understand some of the latest developments in the field of database research and to develop skills in critical thinking and logical, structured, coherent writing.

You must choose one of the following topics for your project.

Distributed Databases
Spanner: Google's globally distributed database (Google)
Data Mining
Fast Algorithms for Mining Association Rules
Timeseries Databases
Gorilla: A Fast, Scalable, In-Memory Time Series Database (Facebook)
Graph Databases
Trinity: A distributed graph engine on a memory cloud (Microsoft)


Your assignment for this project involves researching one of the above topics in more detail. You will need to perform the following tasks:

  • Choose one of the above four topics, along with its specified "primary reading" (i.e., one of either the Spanner, Apropri, Gorilla or Trinity research papers).
  • Find a research article to be your "secondary reading". This article should be a recent (ideally published within the last 5 years), high quality research article that is different from the "primary reading" that describes a new technique with respect to the topic that you have chosen. You should find your "secondary reading" paper from one of the sources described below. Your chosen secondary reading should be a full research paper (typically with a length of 8 pages or longer). If you plan to examine a paper that is not from the sources described below, you should justify your rationale as to the quality of the research, e.g., based on bibliometrics such as high citation count, or ratings such as 'A*' or 'A' from the CORE conference/journal portal.
  • Write a review of your "secondary reading" within a PDF file. There is not a strict length specification: the important point is to effectively review the paper. It is expected that you should be able to achieve this within 4 pages or 2000 words. Scanned handwritten pages are not acceptable for this exercise. Indicate which source you used to find your secondary reading, and include the PDF of your secondary reading, too.
  • You should already have read the primary reading, and have contributed to class discussion (this is not directly assessed).
  • Write a report on your primary reading, indicating the connection between your primary and secondary reading. As for the other report, there is not a strict length specification, but again it is expected that 4 pages or 2000 words would be sufficient.

You should thus submit three separate PDF files: (1) report on secondary reading, (2) secondary reading (you don't write this, obviously!), (3) your report on your primary reading. We suggest you use LaTeX to format your report. Your references/citations must follow the IEEE Citation Style.

Your submission should be emailed to David and he will confirm receipt.


You should find your articles from the following journals and/or conferences.

  • ACM Transactions on Database Systems
  • Data and Knowledge Engineering
  • ACM Special Interest Group on Management of Data
  • ACM Principles of Database Systems
  • Very Large Databases (VLDB)
  • IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering


Your projects will be assessed based on your explanation and your understanding of the problem in the paper, your review of relevant research, and your ability to summarise the authors' arguments.