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    Semantics for null extended nested relations

    Levene, Mark and Loizou, G. (1993) Semantics for null extended nested relations. ACM Transactions on Database Systems 18 (3), pp. 414-459. ISSN 0362-5915.

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    The nested relational model extends the flat relational model by relaxing the first normal form assumption in order to allow the modeling of complex objects. Much of the previous work on the nested relational model has concentrated on defining the data structures and query language for the model. The work done on integrity constraints in nested relations has mainly focused on characterizing subclasses of nested relations and defining normal forms for nested relations with certain desirable properties. In this paper we define the semantics of nested relations, which may contain null values, in terms of integrity constraints, called null extended data dependencies, which extend functional dependencies and join dependencies encountered in flat relational database theory. We formalize incomplete information in nested relations by allowing only one unmarked generic null value, whose semantics we do not further specify. The motivation for the choice of a generic null is our desire to investigate only fundamental semantics which are common to all unmarked null types. This lead us to define a preorder on nested relations, which allows us to measure the relative information content of nested relations. We also define a procedure, called the extended chase procedure, for testing satisfaction of null extended data dependencies and for making inferences by using these null extended data dependencies. The extended chase procedure is shown to generalize the classical chase procedure, which is of major importance in flat relational database theory. As a consequence of our approach we are able to capture the novel notion of losslessness in nested relations, called herein null extended lossless decomposition. Finally, we show that the semantics of nested relations are a natural extension of the semantics of flat relations.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2021 17:12
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:51


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