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Chapter: Database Management Systems : Introduction to DBMS

Relational Algebra

What is Algebra? A language based on operators and a domain of values

Relational Query Languages


         Languages for describing queries on a relational database


         Structured Query Language (SQL)


–Predominant application-level query language




•  Relational Algebra


–Intermediate language used within DBMS




What is Algebra?


         A language based on operators and a domain of values


         Operators map values taken from the domain into other domain values


         Hence, an expression involving operators and arguments produces a value in the domain


         When the domain is a set of all relations (and the operators are as described later), we get the relational algebra


            We refer to the expression as a query and the value produced as the query


Relational Algebra


         Domain: set of relations


         Basic operators: select, project, union, set difference, Cartesian product


         Derived operators: set intersection, division, join


         Procedural: Relational expression specifies query by describing an algorithm (the sequence in which operators are applied) for determining the result of an expression


Select Operator


•  Produce table containing subset of rows of argument table satisfying condition



Selection Condition


•  Operators: 


•  Simple selection condition:


–<attribute> operator <constant>


–<attribute> operator <attribute>


         <condition> AND <condition>


         <condition> OR <condition>


         NOT <condition>


Project Operator


Produces table containing subset of columns of argument table

•  Example:


Set Operators


         Relation is a set of tuples => set operations should apply


         Result of combining two relations with a set operator is a relation => all its elements must be tuples having same structure


         Hence, scope of set operations limited to union compatible relations


Union Compatible Relations


         Two relations are union compatible if


–  Both have same number of columns


–  Names of attributes are the same in both


–  Attributes with the same name in both relations have the same domain


         Union compatible relations can be combined using union, intersection, and set difference


Cartesian product


         If R and S are two relations, R S is the set of all concatenated tuples <x,y>, where x is a tuple in R and y is a tuple in S


–  (R and S need not be union compatible)


         R  S is expensive to compute:


–  Factor of two in the size of each row


–  Quadratic in the number of rows




         Eliminates unwanted groups (analogous to WHERE clause)


         HAVING condition constructed from attributes of GROUP BY list and aggregates of attributes not in list


SELECT T.StudId, AVG(T.Grade) AS CumGpa,


COUNT (*) AS NumCrs


FROM  Transcript T

WHERE T.CrsCode LIKE        ‘CS%’




HAVING AVG (T.Grade) > 3.5.


A Database Management System is a software environment that structures and manipulatesdata, and ensures data security, recovery, and integrity. The Data Platform relies on a database management system (RDBMS) to store and maintain all of its data as well as execute all the associated queries. There are two types of RDBMS : the first group consists of single software packages which support only a single database, with a single user access and are not scalable (i.e. cannot handle large amounts of data). Typical examples of this first group are MS Access and FileMaker. The second group is formed by DBMS composed of one or more programs and their associated services which support one or many databases for one or many users in ascalable fashion. For example an enterprise database server can support the HR database,the accounting database and the stocks database all at the same time. Typical examples ofthis second group include MySQL, MS SQL Server, Oracle and DB2. The DBMS selected for the Data Platform is MS SQL Server from the second group.




A table is set of data elements that has a horizontal dimension (rows) and a vertical dimension (columns) in a relational database system. A table has a specified number of columns but can have any number of rows. Rows stored in a table are structurally equivalent to records from flat files. Columns are often referred as attributes or fields. In a database managed by a DBMS the format of each attribute is a fixed datatype. For example the attribute date can only contain information in the date time format.




An identifier is an attribute that is used either as a primary key or as a foreign key. The integer datatype is used for identifiers. In cases where the number of records exceed the allowed values by the integer datatype then a biginteger datatype is used.


Primary key


A column in a table whose values uniquely identify the rows in the table. A primary key value cannot be NULLto matching columns in other tables\


Foreign key


A column in a table that does not uniquely identify rows in that table, but is used as a link to matching columns in other tables.




A relationship is an association between two tables. For example the relationship between the table "hotel" and "customer" maps the customers to the hotels they have used.



An index is a data structure which enables a query to run at a sublinear-time. Instead of having to go through all records one by one to identify those which match its criteria the query uses the index to filter out those which don't and focus on those who do.




A view is a virtual or logical table composed of the result set of a pre-compiled query. Unlike ordinary tables in a relational database, a view is not part of the physical schema: it is a dynamic, virtual table computed or collated from data in the database. Changing the data in a view alters the data stored in the database




A query is a request to retrieve data from a database with the SQL SELECT instruction or to manipulate data stored in tables.





Structured Query Language (SQL), pronounced "sequel", is a language that provides an interface to relational database systems. It was developed by IBM in the 1970s for use in System R. SQL is a de facto standard, as well as an ISO and ANSI standard.


Relational Database Management System


E. F. Codd‟s Twelve Rules for Relational Databases


Codd's twelve rules call for a language that can be used to define, manipulate, and query the data in the database, expressed as a string of characters. Some references to the twelve rules include a thirteenth rule - or rule zero:

1.       Information Rule: All information in the database should be represented in one   and only one way -- as values in a table.

2.       Guaranteed Access Rule: Each and every datum (atomic value) is guaranteed to be  logically accessible by resorting to a combination of table name, primary key value, and column name.


3. Systematic Treatment of Null Values: Null values (distinct from empty character string or a string of blank characters and distinct from zero or any other number) are supported in the fully relational DBMS for representing missing information in a systematic way, independent of data type.


4. Dynamic Online Catalog Based on the Relational Model: The database description is represented at the logical level in the same way as ordinary data, so


authorized users can apply the same relational language to its interrogation as they apply to regular data.


5. Comprehensive Data Sublanguage Rule: A relational system may support several languages and various modes of terminal use. However, there must be at least one language whose statements are expressible, per some well-defined syntax, as character strings and whose ability to support all of the following is comprehensible:



a. data definition

b. view definition


c. data manipulation (interactive and by program)


d. integrity constraints


e. authorization


f. transaction boundaries (begin, commit, and rollback).


6.View Updating Rule: All views that are theoretically updateable are also updateable by the system.


6. High-Level Insert, Update, and Delete: The capability of handling a base relation or a derived relation as a single operand applies not only to the retrieval of data, but also to the insertion, update, and deletion of data.


7. Physical Data Independence: Application programs and terminal activities remain logically unimpaired whenever any changes are made in either storage representation or access methods.



8. Logical Data Independence: Application programs and terminal activities remain logically


unimpaired when information preserving changes of any kind that theoretically permit unimpairment are made to the base tables.


10.            Integrity Independence: Integrity constraints specific to a particular relational database must be definable in the relational data sublanguage and storable in the catalog, not in the application programs.


11.            Distribution Independence: The data manipulation sublanguage of a relational DBMS must enable application programs and terminal activities to remain logically


unimpaired whether and whenever data are physically centralized or distributed.


12.            Nonsubversion Rule: If a relational system has or supports a low-level (single- record-at-a-time) language, that low-level language cannot be used to subvert or bypass the integrity rules or constraints expressed in the higher-level (multiple- records-at-a-time) relational language.


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