Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

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EECS 684: Current Topics in Database Systems

Database systems have come along a long way since their inception in the 1970s. Database Management Systems (DBMSs) have been widely successful and are the heart of most information management system. However, there are a number of significant challenges that future DBMSs must meet if they are to continue playing the center role in information processing and management. We are on the verge of a new revolution in ubiquitous computing in which zillions of devices, ranging from small personal digital assistants (PDAs) to “invisible” embedded sensor devices, will demand answers to queries under a wide range of system conditions. These devices will rely on a distributed backend infrastructure to deliver the query results. The data sets in the back-end systems are growing at astonishing rates, demanding scalable distributed data management techniques. Furthermore, the data sets are increasingly complex, and are not limited to simple alphanumeric data types (which traditional relational DBMS manage very effectively). Database query processing and database storage techniques that exist today fall far short of meeting the demands of these future systems. What then are the techniques that will deliver this new world to us? This is the question that we will explore in this course. The course will focus primarily on query processing and query evaluation techniques that are likely to be applicable in mobile, distributed, and sensor database environments of the future. Since most of the questions in this area are unanswered, this course will be very exploratory. [Full Story]