USC Viterbi - School of Engineering - Department of Computer Science CSCI 585  Database Systems

Grading will be approximately 65% on the exams, and 35% on the assignments. You must complete all four assignments and both exams to pass this course.


There will be two exams: a midterm and a second exam. There is no final exam. Both exams will be given during scheduled class time (2:00 - 3:20 p.m.)

Exam 1:

The first exam will be on Thursday, Oct 17 2013 from 2:00-3:20p.m.
Location of the exam will vary from student to student, so please pay close attention:

  • On-campus students having last names starting with A-S: OHE122 (the usual classroom)
  • On-campus students having last names starting with T-Z: GFS229
  • DEN students coming to campus for the exam: OHE122
  • DEN students taking the exam remotely: you should already have your proctoring arrangements.

You may prepare and bring a crib sheet consisting one 8.5 by 11 inch piece of paper (both sides) of your own notes for use during this exam. The crib sheet should be your own work and may not be shared between students during the exam.

Exam 2:

The second exam will be on Thursday, Dec 5 2013 from 2:00-3:20p.m.
Location varies from student to student, and is different from Exam 1, so please pay close attention:

  • On-campus students having last names starting with A-O: OHE122 (the usual classroom)
  • On-campus students having last names starting with P-Z: WPH102
  • DEN students coming to campus for the exam: OHE122
  • DEN students taking the exam remotely: as per your proctoring arrangements.

For exam 2, you are allowed to prepare and bring two 8.5 by 11 inch pieces of paper containing your own notes into the exam — one from the first exam, and the second for newer material.

Sample Exam

The purpose of this sample exam is to show the style of questions the exams will contain. It is not an indication of scope of topic coverage per se. We do not provide solutions for the sample exam; you can use it as a study tool to prepare for the exams this semester, and of course ask questions regarding any issues that arise. But, the CSCI585 staff will not solve the problems for you - remember, the sample is a study tool for you.


Assignment 1

[Weeks 3-5] Conceptual database modeling and design.
Due: September 26, 2012 @ 02:00 PM PDT

Assignment 2

[Weeks 5-7] The relationship between semantic/object models and the relational database model; relational database model design and normalization.
Due: October 8, 2013 @ 02:00 PM PDT

Assignment 3

[Weeks 9-11] Database implementation, query and manipulation; accessing a database from within a Java program using Java Database Connectivity (JDBC).
Due: November 14, 2013 @ 02:00 PM PST
[sample data files (*.csv)] (UPDATED ver.2 fixes an error)
[sample command line batch files / shell scripts (*.bat/*.sh)]
[configuration file (dbparams.txt)]

Assignment 4

[Weeks 11-13] XML, XML schema design, XML stylesheets and XQuery implementation.
Due: November 26, 2013 @ 02:00 PM PST
Due: December 2, 2013 @ 05:00 PM PST (extended)
[download] (UPDATED ver.2 fixes Book/Formats)


  • Students are expected to rigorously adhere to the USC Academic Integrity Guidelines. Any inappropriate use of resources or cheating on assignments or exams will have the most serious consequences. Assignments and exams MUST be your own work. Read our Academic Integrity Notice.
  • A discussion board will be made available for each assignment on DEN's Blackboard system.
    • Use the discussion boards as your main resource to post questions related to the assignments.
    • You are encouraged to discuss general issues related to the assignments with other students without revealing and/or hinting at any answers.
    • The discussion boards are moderated, so your posts will not show up until after they have been approved. Please do not re-post the same message.
    • The TAs will participate in the discussions and answer questions on the board.
    • Do not ask TAs homework-specific questions by email.
    • Although the discussion board will remain open until the respective assignment deadline, the TAs cannot guarantee that they will be able to answer any/all last minute questions posted less than 24 hours before the deadline.
  • Detailed submission instructions are included with each assignment; read and follow them carefully.
  • Some assignments require electronic submission on USC DEN Blackboard at
    • Always download and check that your submission was not corrupted.
    • You may modify and re-send your file, but only until the deadline — late amendments will be ignored.
    • Submissions by e-mail will not be honored.
  • Late submissions will be penalized at -20% of your score for each day (24 hours) or part thereof, starting from the designated submission deadline.
    • If the assignment in question uses electronic submission, it should be submitted via USC DEN Blackboard as per usual. Do not submit by e-mail.
    • If the assignment in question requires a hard copy submission, you have two options. either:
      • hand it to a TA in person during their regular office hours, or
      • seal it in an envelope and submit it to the CS Department front desk at SAL 300; ensure that they stamp it with the date and time received. Then, e-mail the TAs to notify them that you have submitted your work.
      • Do not submit by e-mail.
  • After a graded assignment or exam has been returned, you have two weeks to contact the graders and TAs for any issues or questions. After two weeks NO CHANGES will be made.