The InfoQual

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam in Information Management and Analysis

Effective January 2012

Passing the InfoQual requires passing both the Core and the Depth


The Core requires passing two areas, each one corresponding roughly to a single course and/or textbook. The current core areas are:
Core exams are written exams of about one hour each. They are expected to cover the same material but be somewhat more difficult (i.e., test for more depth of understanding) than a typical final exam in the corresponding course. They are offered once each academic year, usually in the late spring. Students may take as many of the four exams as they like each spring, and must eventually pass two of them, not necessarily in the same year. The outcome of each exam is a simple pass or fail, not a numeric score.


The Depth requires passing five topics. The current depth topics are listed below; more may be added on request, subject to approval of the InfoLab faculty. The depth exam is an oral exam of about one hour covering all five chosen topics. It is conducted by 2-4 faculty (InfoLab or otherwise) depending on the topics. Details of the oral exam -- faculty involved, scheduling, any exceptions to the topic structure -- are coordinated through the student's advisor. The student is expected to be able to explain and critique in detail the readings for each topic, including the premises, contributions, impact, and shortcomings of the work. The outcome of the entire oral exam is a simple pass or fail; it is not a score, and it is not possible to pass some topics and fail others.

Cascading Behavior  -- Jure

Conjunctive Query Containment  -- Jeff

Crowdsourcing Algorithms  -- Hector

Crowdsourcing Systems  -- Jennifer

Decentralized Search in Small-world Networks  -- Jure

Distributed Graph Computation Systems  -- Jennifer

Frequent Itemsets  -- Jeff

Link Analysis  -- Jure

MapReduce, Pig, Hive  -- Hector or Jennifer

Parallel Database Systems  -- Hector

Peer to Peer  -- Hector

Power Laws and Preferential Attachment  -- Jure

Search  -- ??

Similar Items  -- Jure

Theory of MapReduce  -- Jeff

Old Database Quals