University of Waterloo Logo

David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science

CS 848 - Fall 2008

Advanced Topics in Data Bases: Databases in Cloud Computing Environments

What's New (November 19, 2008)

Course Links

Reading List

Schedule and Course Notes

Paper Review Information (Sample review)

Presentation Information (Sample presentation)

Project Information (Sample project report)

University Policies on Academic Integrity


Ashraf Aboulnaga
Office: DC 3349
E-mail: ashraf AT cs (append
Office hours: By appointment

Course Information

Lectures: Wednesdays 2:00pm - 4:50pm in room MC 2036 (10 September, 2008 to 26 November, 2008)
Course home page:

Course Description

We are currently witnessing a strong trend towards consolidating server-side computing into large clusters of commodity machines that are centrally managed and shared among users. This trend is driven by the economies of scale of operating such large clusters, and by the increasing cost of owning and operating individual servers. These vast pools of computing resources are known as computing clouds, and they are accessed by users over the Internet or intranets. Most applications that run on these computing clouds are data intensive applications, but data management for this new environment is fundamentally different from traditional data management. In this course, we will study the new data management paradigms introduced for cloud computing environments. We will also explore how traditional data management capabilities and techniques can be applied to this new computing environment. A significant component of the course will be a term-long project conducted individually or in groups of up to three students. The specific topics we will cover include:


Strong background in database systems and operating systems.

Workload and Evaluation

I will give an introductory lecture, then we will read two to three papers every week. You are expected to read the papers before class. Over the course of the term, each student will present one or two papers in class and review four or five papers. Students presenting one paper will review five papers and students presenting two papers will review four papers. There will be a term-long project conducted individually or in groups of two or three. There will be no assignments or exams. Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

For students presenting one paper:

For students presenting two papers:

Text Book

The course is based on a reading list from recent conferences and journals. There is no required text book.

University Policies on Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity: In order to maintain a culture of academic integrity, members of the University of Waterloo community are expected to promote honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. All members of the UW community are expected to hold to the highest standard of academic integrity in their studies, teaching, and research. The Office of Academic Integrity's website ( contains detailed information on UW policy for students and faculty. This site explains why academic integrity is important and how students can avoid academic misconduct. It also identifies resources available on campus for students and faculty to help achieve academic integrity in — and out — of the classroom.

Grievance: A student who believes that a decision affecting some aspect of his/her university life has been unfair or unreasonable may have grounds for initiating a grievance. Read Policy 70 - Student Petitions and Grievances, Section 4,

Discipline: A student is expected to know what constitutes academic integrity, to avoid committing academic offenses, and to take responsibility for his/her actions. A student who is unsure whether an action constitutes an offense, or who needs help in learning how to avoid offenses (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or about “rules” for group work/collaboration should seek guidance from the course professor, academic advisor, or the Undergraduate Associate Dean. When misconduct has been found to have occurred, disciplinary penalties will be imposed under Policy 71 – Student Discipline. For information on categories of offenses and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy 71 - Student Discipline,

Avoiding Academic Offenses:  Most students are unaware of the line between acceptable and unacceptable academic behaviour, especially when discussing assignments with classmates and using the work of other students. For information on commonly misunderstood academic offenses and how to avoid them, students should refer to the Faculty of Mathematics Cheating and Student Academic Discipline Policy,

Appeals: A student may appeal the finding and/or penalty in a decision made under Policy 70 - Student Petitions and Grievances (other than regarding a petition) or Policy 71 - Student Discipline if a ground for an appeal can be established. Read Policy 72 - Student Appeals,