Screening Exam Questions for Spring 2012


Question 1


You have been hired by Jiffy Lube to develop a database for them. Jiffy Lube is a company where you can get an oil change for your car, Although Jiffy Lube is present in all cities and towns, they are locally owned. The parent company wants to have a database to keep track of the cars that are served at each location. They want to keep track of the date when it was brought in, condition when it was brought in, repairs made, etc.


1.  Design a database for this project by completing the ER or UML diagram (minimum of 3 entities).

2. Translate your ER diagram into tables and explain the differences.

3. How would you use indexes and keys in this database? Why? On which columns? Why?


Question 2

Several basic approaches to modern software development exist. These are sometimes depicted as occupying points along a software development method continuum, with waterfall methods at one end, agile methods, such as XP or Scrum, at the other end, and open source development methods somewhere in between.

1.       How do agile methods work?

2.       How do waterfall methods work?  Contrast this with agile.

3.       How does open source development work?  Contrast this with agile and waterfall.

4.       Under what circumstances, might each of these approaches be preferred?

Question 3


1.       Napster was a famous music exchange system that additionally offered many add-on services. It was sentenced to go out of business due to copyright infringement. The system worked as follows. The Napster server held a database of all music files offered by the participating users. Users had to login to the Napster server, and send a list of files they offered. Each user could then send search requests to the Napster server, in order to receive a list of the users that offered files that matched the query. The requester could then choose a user from that list, establish a direct connection with him, and request a download of the file.

a.       Categorize the relationship between the Napster server and the users of the system as either client/server or peer-to-peer.

b.      Categorize the relationship between the users of the system as either client/server or peer-or-peer. Present your arguments.

c.       Categorize the database of music files as centralized, decentralized, or distributed, and analyze the economic implications of the system.

d.      Analyze the relationship between Napster system architecture and the vulnerability of Napster against legal actions.

e.      Another music service Kazaa learned from Napster’s mistakes and changed their architecture. What did they do right?


2.       The United States government has been facing an intense amount of pressure, mostly from the entertainment and computer software publishing companies for years to find some method of stopping the online piracy that is allowing people to own copies of their merchandise for free.

The result is two Acts PIA and SOPA being considered by the Congress. PIPA is an acronym for the Protect IP Act and SOPA is an acronym for the Stop Online Piracy Act. PIPA, if passed, will give  U.S. corporations and the government the right to seek affirmative legal action with any website that they see as enabling copyright infringement whether of U.S. origin or not. With SOPA, the U.S. Attorney General can now seek a court order that would force search engines, advertisers, DNS providers, servers, and payment processors from having any contact with allegedly infringing websites. Majority of the US technology corporations were initially supportive but have recently gone against it. What are the issues and how does this affect Internet users and developers going forward?


3.       Statistical (or asynchronous) TDM is an alternative to synchronous TDM. Describe how STDM is different from (synchronous TDM).


Question 4

Agility is defined as "the ability of the company to quickly adapt to or even to anticipate and lead change". 

Given the above definition, how do modern businesses leverage Information Technology to increase their business agility? In your answer, refer to four principles: (1) capabilities rather than just strategy; (2) pull rather than just push; (3) economies of scope rather than just scale; and (4) an emphasis on flexibility rather than just efficiency.


Question 5

The Gartner Group is the world's leading Information Technology research and advisory company. Recently, the Gartner Group defined a CIO as one who: "Provides vision for developing and implementing IT initiatives that create value for the enterprise, in a constantly changing, intensively competitive marketplace." Based on this definition, write an essay which addresses the CIO's journey to achieve to transform the IT organization into a valuable service provider to the business. In your essay focus on the following 4 themes:

1. The context of IT

2.Articulating a compelling vision


3.Achieving alignment between business needs and IT opportunities


4. Optimizing the overall business value


Question 6

Given the following assumption, provide brief answers to the following questions:

Scientific knowledge consists of those beliefs that have been established as true through the practices that scientists employ to articulate and test beliefs.

1.       For what purposes should such scientific knowledge be useful?

2.       What are desirable characteristics of scientific knowledge?

3.       What is the "classic" view of how scientific knowledge advances?

4.       What is the Kuhnian view of this?

5.       What are the roles in scientific knowledge of concepts (of various kinds), statements (of various kinds), and data, and how are these related?

6.       What constitutes a theory?

7.       In what ways can a theory be organized (i.e., what forms of theory exist)?

8.       How can theories be developed?

9.       How can theories be tested?

10.  How can one establish that a theory is (tentatively) true?