Prof. Dr. Tilmann Rabl

Foundations of Database Systems Seminar

In this seminar, we aim to teach how to read and to interpret scientific database literature critically, how to give a good scientific presentation, technically precise and concentrated on the relevant topics, but also enjoyable, and how to write an appropriate technical summary of classical literature in computer science. At the same time, students will get an introduction to the history and the foundations of database systems.

During the initial phase of this class, students will hear presentations on how to read scientific papers, how to give a good presentation, and how to write high-quality scientific/technical reports. Additionally, all participants will receive one or more top-ranked scientific articles, from the literature in the classical database area. E.g. paper from the Red Book, the Great Papers in Computer Science, VLDB 10-Year Best Paper Awards, or SIGMOD Test of Time Awards. Task of the students is to study the literature deeply, to structure own presentations, and to reflect the main challenges addressed in the presentations and in a written summary. The contributions of the other students shall be critically reflected by the audience.


Presentations (50%)

  • Give presentations (at least 2, 40% of the grade)
  • Give feedback and ask critical questions (10% of the grade)

Write-up (50%)

  • Prepare one-pagers for every week (10%, part of the report grade)
  • Prepare a report (4-6 two-column pages, 40% of the grade)

Schedule (in process)

The seminar will take place Thursdays at 01:30 PM in F-1.04, Building F at Campus II.

TH 17.10.cancelled - Retreat Research School
TH 24.10.Introduction
TH 31.10.cancelled - Reformation Day
TH 07.11.Reading Papers
TH 14.11.Presentations
TH 21.11.Writing Papers


The seminar discussed seminal works in database systems research. The following papers were summarized in short blog articles: