MEDED 598A: DB & Applications in the Health Sciences (3 credits).
Mon & Wed, 3pm - 4:20pm.
Fall, 2002.

Errr.... This page will be under construction thru-out the quarter. Sorry.


The Instructional Lab (T-277) has MS Access, MySQL, and PostGreSQL installed as database servers. For use with MySQL, you will want to install the mySQL front-end (1 Meg freeware package for Windows). You may also want to refer to the MySQL on-line documentation, at least as a reference manual.

Of course, there is always MS Access. To help you work through the textbook examples, the author provides a copy of the PetStore example as a MS Access database. This includes a particular large set of example Queries -- remember, you can use "SQL view" to see the raw SQL code for any query.

For UML modeling, I am hoping to use Rational Rose (I am processing paperwork to get free educational-use copies). In the meantime, Poseidon (community edition) is a free-ware tool that allows you to create and browse UML diagrams (but no printing.) Perhaps even better, Microsoft Visio also has a UML mode (select "Software" and UML should appear as a possible template). Visio is installed in the Instructional Lab.

Week-by-week lecture schedule w/ Homework:

These will be designed as the quarter progresses. Watch this space for detailed specifications.

Lecture topic(s)
Assignment Due
Readings Due
Sept 30 Intro; Database architectures & overview    
Oct 2 UML & database design   Ch. 1, UML reading selection (Handout on Sept 30)
Oct 7 More DB design Homework #1 Ch. 2
Oct 9 Normalization   Ch. 3: thru pp. 86
Oct 14 More normalization: Normalizing UML diagrams   Ch. 3: pp. 90-106
Oct 16 SQL Homework #2 Ch. 4
Oct 21 more SQL: sub-queries & data creation queries   Ch. 5
Oct 23 SQL, OLAP, and exam review Homework #3  
Oct 28 Exam #1    
Oct 30 Relational Algebra   Ch. 3 of Silberschatz pp. 89-111
Nov 4 Query optimization   Reading from Silberschatz: snippets of Ch. 13 & 14
Nov 6 Transactions & concurrency (Mel Oyler)   pp. 309-314 (Ch.7)
Nov 13 (class cancelled due to AMIA)    
Nov 18 Physical organization of DB   Ch. 9, pp. 383-398
Nov 20 Distributed databases   Ch. 11
Nov 25 XML, DBs and XML query languages (Peter Mork) Homework #4  
Nov 27 (cancel: afternoon before Thanksgiving)    
Dec 2 Object-Relational DBs   Ch. 12, pp. 490-497
Dec 4 Entity-Attribute-Value DBs (Bryant Karras)   Nadkarni handout
Dec 9 Exam #2 Homework #5 (due on Dec 10)  
Dec 11 Review & "How to give a talk"    
Dec 18 Final exam session: Student project presentations    

Final project:
Suppose you have been given the job of selecting the best database design for a domain of your choice (hopefully something in biomedical informatics). In a short (15 mins) presentation, your task will be to given a detailed walk-thru of the key elements of two alternative database designs. You should highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the two designs, and you may argue that one is superior to the other (or they might be equally good). Ideally, you would interview potential users to develop a set of use cases, and then you could demontrate how the two designs would support (or fail to support) the use cases. The two designs could either show the effect of arbitrary design decisions, or the effect of different overall approaches to database design. For example, you could compare a fully normalized design versus a non-normalized one, or you could compare a traditional relational database design versus an EAV database design.

This final project should be smallish -- about 2-3 weeks worth of work. Part of the point would be to develop your oral presentation skills. I will provide a set of tips and guidelines for oral presentations in class.

Final project deliverables: In addition to the oral presentation, you must hand in UML documentation for your two designs, as well as documents describing at least two use cases for applications that might use your database designs.