ECS 289F Foundations of Relational Databases – Winter 2010


Course Information



Todd J. Green


201 Wellman


MWF 1:10-2:00 pm

Office Hours

M 2:00-3:00 pm (or by appointment), Kemper 3055

Mailing List


Transcribed Lecture Notes


Here is the latest version (with latex source), current through 3/3/10.  Thanks to the class scribes!




á      Homework 1: handed out Friday, 1/8/10; due in class Wednesday, 1/13/10.  Solutions.


á      Homework 2; handed out Friday, 1/22/10; due in class Friday, 1/29/10.  Solutions.


á      Homework 3; handed out Friday, 1/29/10; due in class Monday, 2/8/10.  Solutions.


á      Homework 4; handed out Wednesday, 3/3/10; due in class Friday, 3/12/10.


Paper Presentations


1.     Bag semantics     [Sarah: Monday, 3/1/10]


Containment of Real Conjunctive Queries.  Chaudhuri and Vardi.  PODS 1993.

Containment of Conjunctive Queries: Beyond Relations as Sets.  Ioannidis and Ramakrishnan.  TODS 1995.  


2.     Probabilistic/incomplete databases [Thanh, Mingmin: Wednesday, 3/3/10 and Friday, 3/5/10]


Models for Incomplete and Probabilistic Information.  Green and Tannen.  IIDB 2006.

Efficient Query Evaluation on Probabilistic Databases.  Dalvi and Suciu.  VLDB Journal 2005.


3.     Data exchange [Zhongxian, Vu: Monday, 3/8/10 and Wednesday, 3/10/10]


Data Exchange: Semantics and Query Answering.  Fagin, Kolaitis, Miller, and Popa.  TCS 2005.

Data Exchange: Getting to the Core.  Fagin, Kolaitis, and Popa.  TODS 2005.


4.     Data provenance   [Sven: Friday, 3/12/10]


Provenance Semirings.  Green, Karvounarakis, and Tannen.  PODS 2007.


Catalog Description


Introduction to database theory, including complexity and expressiveness of first-order query languages, static analysis and optimization of database queries, recursive queries, and data exchange. A background in databases is helpful but not required, and students with a general interest in logic in computer science are encouraged to attend.




1.     Introduction: a brief history of relational databases

2.     Review of first-order logic

a.     Syntax and semantics

b.     GšdelŐs completeness theorem

c.     TrakhtenbrotŐs theorem

3.     First-order database query languages

a.     Relational calculus and relational algebra

b.     Domain independence

c.     Query complexity versus data complexity

d.     Minimization of conjunctive queries

4.     Dependencies

a.     The chase

b.     Minimization of conjunctive queries under dependencies

c.     Certain answers, universal solutions, and data exchange

5.     Recursive queries and Datalog

a.     First-order inexpressibility of transitive closure

b.     Syntax and semantics of Datalog

c.     Datalog with negation



Letter; homework (20%), presentation (30%), class participation (50%).   Further details to be announced.




There is no required textbook for this class.  However, some useful references (on reserve in Shields Library) include:


1.     Foundations of Databases, Abiteboul, Hull, and Vianu (1995)

2.     Elements of Finite Model Theory, Libkin (2004)


See also the lecture notes on Friendly Logics by Val Tannen.


And, a standard logic textbook may be a useful reference.