INFO-H-415: Advanced Databases

Last important announcement

Dear all,

The first practical session will be next week on Thursday (see schedule for room and hour). Please have your computer ready with the tools needed. If you do not have a laptop I advise you to pair up with somebody with one for the practical session.

The first three sessions will be on spatial databases (see Exercices Web page)!

See you next Thursday,



Teaching Assistant


  • Theory 24 h - Exercises 24h - Project 12h
  • 5 ECTS credits

Study Programme

  • Master in Computer Science and Engineering [MA-IRIF]
  • Master in Computer Sciences [INFO]
  • Erasmus Mundus Master in Big Data Management and Analytics (BDMA)


The course is given during the first semester

  • Lectures on Mondays from 4 pm to 6 pm in the UB4.132 (Solbosch campus)
  • Exercises on Thursdays from 2 pm to 4 pm


Today, databases are moving away from typical management applications, and address new application areas. For this, databases must consider (1) recent developments in computer technology, as the object paradigm and distribution, and (2) management of new data types such as spatial or temporal data. This course introduces the concepts and techniques of some innovative database applications.


Spatial Databases

Spatial data and applications. Space ontology. Conceptual modeling of spatial aspects. Manipulation of spatial data with standard SQL.

Mobility Databases

Temporal Databases

Temporal data and applications. Time ontology. Conceptual modeling of temporal aspects. Manipulation of temporal data with standard SQL.

Active Databases

Taxonomy of concepts. Applications of active databases: integrity maintenance, derived data, replication. Design of active databases: termination, confluence, determinism, modularisation.

Reference Books

  • C. Zaniolo et al., Advanced Database Systems, Morgan Kaufmann, 1997
  • R.T. Snodgrass, Developing Time-Oriented Database Applications in SQL, Morgan Kaufmann, 2000 (version pdf)
  • Tom Johnston, Bitemporal Data: Theory and Practice, Morgan Kaufmann, 2014
  • R.T. Snodgrass, The TSQL2 Temporal Query Language, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1995
  • S.W. Dietrich, S.D. Urban, Fundamentals of Object Databases: Object-Oriented and Object-Relational Design, Morgan & Claypool, 2011
  • Jim Melton and Alan R. Simon, SQL: 1999 - Understanding Relational Language Components, Morgan Kaufmann, 2001
  • Jim Melton, Advanced SQL: 1999 - Understanding Object-Relational and Other Advanced Features, Morgan Kaufmann, 2002
  • Ian Robinson, Jim Webber, Emil Eifrem, Graph Databases, 2nd Edition, O'Reilly Media, 2015
  • Philippe Rigaux, Michel Scholl, Agnès Voisard, Spatial Databases: With Application to GIS, Morgan Kaufmann, 2001

Additional documentation

  • Norman W. Paton, Oscar Díaz, Active Database Systems, ACM Computer Surveys, 31(1): 63-103, 1999. (version pdf)
  • Jennifer Widom, The Starbust Active Database Rule System, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, 8(4): 583-595 1996 (version pdf)
  • E. Zimányi, Temporal Aggregates and Temporal Universal Quantifiers in Standard SQL, SIGMOD Record, 35(2):16-21, 2006. (version pdf)
  • Krishna Kulkarni, Jan-Eike Michels, Temporal features in SQL:2011, SIGMOD Record, 41(3):34-43, 2012. (version pdf)
  • Michael H. Böhlen, Anton Dignös, Johann Gamper, Christian S. Jensen, Temporal Data Management: An Overview, Proc. of the 7th European Summer School on Business Intelligence and Big Data, eBISS 2017, Bruxelles, Belgium, LNBIP 324, Springer 2018. (version pdf) * Gregory Sannik, Fred Daniels, Enabling the Temporal Data Warehouse, Teradata White paper. (version pdf)
  • Richard T. Snodgrass, A Case Study of Temporal Data, Teradata White paper. (version pdf)
  • Teradata, Temporal Table Support. (version pdf)
  • Teradata, ANSI Temporal Table Support. (version pdf)
  • IBM, A Matter of Time: Temporal Data Management in DB2 for z/OS. (version pdf)

Course Slides



Students, in groups of four students, will realize a project in a topic relevant to advanced databases. Examples of topics are given in the next section of this document. Please notice that the template for these topics is “<Technology> with <Tool1> and <Tool2>”.

Each group will study a database technology (e.g., document stores, time series databases, etc.) and illustrate it with an application developed ​​in two database management systems to be chosen (e.g., SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc.). The topic should be addressed in a technical way, to explain the foundations of the underlying technology. The application must use the chosen technology. Examples of technologies and tools can be found for example in the following web site.

It is important to understand that the objective of the project is NOT about developing an application with a GUI. The objective is to benchmark the proposed tool in relation to the database requirements of your application. Therefore, it is necessary to determine the set of queries and updates that your application requires and do a benchmark with, e.g., 1K, 10K, 100K, and 1M “objects” (rows, documents, nodes, etc. depending on the technology used) to determine if the tool shows a linear or exponential behavior. Please notice that you SHOULD NOT generate data for the benchmark since you can find in Internet (1) a huge number of available datasets (2) alternatively, there are many available data generators.

As usual when performing benchmarks, the queries and updates are executed n times (e.g., 6 times where the first execution is not considered because it is different from the others since the cache structures must be filled) and the average of the execution times is computed. A comparison with traditional relational technology (e.g., using PostgreSQL) must be provided to show that the chosen tool is THE technology of choice for your application, better than all other alternatives, and that it will perform correctly when the system is deployed at full scale. Please notice that there are MANY standard benchmarks for various database technologies so in that case you should prefer using a standard benchmark that reinventing the wheel and create your own benchmark.

The choice of topic and the application must be made ​​in agreement with the lecturer. The topic should not be included in the program of the Master in Computer Science and Engineering. The project will be presented to the lecturer and the fellow students at the end of the semester. This presentation will be supported by a slideshow. A written report containing the contents of the presentation is also required. The presentation and the report will (1) explain the foundations of the technology chosen, (2) explain how these foundations are implemented by the database management systems chosen and (3) illustrate all these concepts with the application implemented.

The duration of the presentation is 45 minutes. It will structured in three parts of SIMILAR length

  • An introduction to technology
  • An introduction to the two tools, each presented by a subgroup of two persons
  • A common assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of both tools tested in a common example application.

The evaluation of the project focuses on the following criteria:

  • Quality of the presentation,
  • Master of the topic presented, and
  • Quality of written report.

The project will count for 25% of the final grade.

The project must be submitted by Monday, December 11, 2023. Please send the report and the presentation in PDF format to the lecturer.

  • Cloud databases and Microsoft Azure, AWS, …
  • Column stores and Cassandra, Hbase, …
  • Data warehouses and Apache Hive
  • Distributed databases and SQL Server, Oracle, Citus, …
  • Document stores and Cloudant, Couchbase, CouchDB, MongoDB, RavenDB, RethinkDB, …
  • Embedded databases and BerkeleyDB
  • In-memory databases and Kdb+, MemSQL, Oracle TimesTen, Memcached, ….
  • Key-value stores and BerkeleyDB, DynamoDB, Redis, Voldermort, …
  • Multi-model databases and MarkLogic, CosmosDB
  • NewSQL databases and VoltDB, CockrachDB, …
  • Object-oriented databases and ObjectBox, Perst
  • Real-time databases and Firebase
  • Search engines and Solr, ElasticSearch, Sphinx …
  • Spatial raster databases and Rasdaman
  • Stream databases and Apache Kafka, Event Stores
  • Time series databases and Influx DB, Kdb+, …
  • XML databases and BaseX

Topics for the current academic year

  • Cloud databases with Microsoft Azure and AWS: Maria Camila Salazar, Valerio Rocca, Ludovica Caiola, Simon Coessens
  • Column stores with Cassandra and HBase: Noah Laravine, Clément Alloin, François Diximier
  • Data warehousing with Google BigQuery and Snowflake: Yutao Chen, Qianyun Zhuang, Min Zhang, Ziyong Zhang
  • Distributed databases with YugaByteDB and CockroachDB: Sony Shrestha, Aayush Paudel, MD Kamrul Islam, Shofiyyah Nadhiroh
  • Distributed databases with Apache Cassandra and Citus: Catalina Correa, Vassili Papadakis, Paeg Hing Leong, Mohamed Bouchkhachakh
  • Document stores with CouchDB and MongoDB: Aryan Gupta, Dilbar Isakova, Hareem Raza, Muhammad Qasim Khan
  • Document stores with RavenDB and RethinkDB: Leila Bourouf, Nargis Sghiouar, Joel Niarisi
  • Embedded databases with Berkeley DB et SQLite: Alexandre Dubois, Adel Nehili, Edgardo Cuellar Sanchez, Shri-Krishna Mungur
  • Graph databases with Neo4J and OrientDB: Gabriela Kaczmarek, Berat Furkan Koçak, Jakub Kwiatkowski, Arijit Samal
  • Graph databases with TigerGraph and Memgraph: Melissa Tsombeng, Thomas Borremans
  • Key-value stores with Redis and Amazon DynamoDB: Dionisius Mayr, Herma Elezi, Rana İşlek, Thomas Suau
  • NewSQL Databases with CockroachDB and NuoDB: Onur Bacaksız, Emmanuel Leguede, Narmina Mahmudova, Mohamed Louai Bouzaher
  • Object databases with Object Box and Zope: Nadine Guettat, Suman Khan, Naoufal Belgada, Latoundji Salim
  • Real time database avec Firebase et Redis: Mathieu Van den Bremt, Nabil Abdellaoui, Elliot Silberwasser, Arkadiusz Snarski
  • Search engines with Elasticsearch and Solr: Benjamin Gold, Quentin Demonceau, Nils Van Es Ostos, David García Morillo
  • Stream databases with Kafka and EventStoreDB: Noubissi Kamgang Allan, Talhaoui Youssef, Gauthier Roger France, Stevens Quentin
  • Stream databases with Apache Flink and Apache Storm: Jintao Ma, Linhan Wang, Iyoha Peace Osamuyi, Hieu Nguyen
  • Time series databases with InfluxDB and Kdb: Gian Tejada Gargate, Gabriel Lozano Pinzón, José Carlos Lozano Dibildox, Enxhi Nushi

Examinations from Previous Years

teaching/infoh415.txt · Last modified: 2023/12/04 18:14 by ezimanyi