CS549 – Distributed Information Systems

Credits 20
Level 5
Semester 2
Prerequisites Sound, advanced Java programming skills
Availability Available only to MSc Advanced Computer Science, MSc Advanced Software Engineering, MSc Enterprise Information Systems, fifth year MEng Computer Science and fifth year MEng Computer & Electronic Systems students
Contact Lectures: 20 | Tutorials: 0 | Labs: 20
Assignments: 80 | Self study: 80
Assessment 80% Examination (2hr), 20% Coursework (two exercises each worth 10%).
Resit TBC
Lecturer Dr John Wilson

General Aims

To help the student to an extended understanding of the deep technical issues underlying information systems in the particular context of distributing content over the world-wide web.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the class, a student should be able to (to the extent appropriate for an MEng graduate):

  • understand how to approach the design of a distributed global application and choose an appropriate technology for each of its components
  • appreciate the range of issues involved in the development and maintenance of an application that potentially involves access by many users but also may be updated by editors whose ability to change must be limited
  • demonstrate an ability to address through relevant implementation a range of the deep technical issues underlying the realisation of globally distributed information systems


Topics to be selected from:

  • Review of the fundamental principles of database management systems
  • Query processing and query optimisation
  • Transaction management: ACID properties, concurrency control, recovery
  • Stored procedures and functions, triggers and active databases
  • Distributed databases: architecture, distributed database design, distributed query processing, distributed transaction management
  • Review of Multi-tier architectures and Internet applications, XML data, P2P data management
  • The history of the Semantic Web. Syntactic vs semantic web. Ontologies
  • The layered approach to the Semantic Web. XML, the tree model of XML documents, XML Schema. Querying XML documents, XPath
  • RDF (Resource Description Framework). RDF Schema. RDF/S semantics


  • Web technologies including Web data mining and collaborative quality filtering
  • Technology for developing countries.

Recommended Text/Reading*

* This list is indicative only – the class lecturer may recommend alternative reading material. Please do not purchase any of the reading material listed below until you have confirmed with the class lecturer that it will be used for this class.

Database Systems R. Elmasri and S. Navathe 2011 | Stocked at Amazon (Other retailers are available)

Semantic Web Primer G. Antoniou 2008 | Stocked at Amazon (Other retailers are available)