Advanced Database Systems, fall 2001

Dennis Shasha
Teaching Assistant: Yaxu Zhu, room 417 Warren Weaver, yaxu@cs.nyu.edu

Graduate Division

Computer Science



To study the internals of database systems as an introduction to research and as a basis for rational performance tuning.

The study of internals will concern topics at the intersection of database system, operating system, and distributed computing research and development. Specific to databases is the support of the notion of transaction: a multi-step atomic unit of work that must appear to execute in isolation and in an all-or-nothing manner. The theory and practice of transaction processing is the problem of making this happen efficiently and reliably.

Tuning is the activity of making your database system run faster. The capable tuner must understand the internals and externals of a database system well enough to understand what could be affecting the performance of a database application. We will see that interactions between different levels of the system, e.g., index design and concurrency control, are extremely important, so will require a new optic on database management design as well as introduce new research issues. Our discussion of tuning will range from the hardware to conceptual design, touching on operating systems, transactional subcomponents, index selection, query reformulation, normalization decisions, and the comparative advantage of object-oriented database systems. This portion of the course will be heavily sprinkled with case studies from database tuning in biotech, telecommunications, and finance. Also, since I'm in the midst of rewriting my tuning book, you will get the benefit of the latest tests.

Because of my recent research (and product) interests, this year will include frequent discussions of

Note that one of the intended textbooks for this course is out of print but copies will be available in the library and the lecture notes are quite explicit.

Office hours

Class materials

Here are some experiments having to do with database tuning .

Here is a set of alternative projects for those with practical experience and interests in finance or languages. This is in postscript and in plain text .

Here is how to call C from K: Don Orth's description of how to call C from K.

Here are Alan Fekete's slides on snapshot isolation Snapshot Isolation and Fixes to It

Here is Joe Conron's nice paper on indexes (from when he was a master's student).

Here are Alberto Lerner's excellent notes on performance monitoring.