The relational model for database management. Version 2. (English) Zbl 0809.68056

Reading, MA etc.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company. XXII, 538 p. (1990).
Today, if you have a well-designed database management system, you have the keys to the kingdom of data progressing and decision support. That is why there now exists a prototype machine whose complete design is based on the relational model. Its arithmetic hardware is a quite minor part of the architecture. In fact, the old term “computer system” now seems like a misnomer.
My first paper dealing with the application of relations (in the mathematical sense) to database management was a non-confidential IBM research report made available to the general public that was entitled Derivability, Redundancy, and Consistency of Relations stored in Large Data Banks (1969). I placed a great deal of emphasis then on the preservation of integrity in a commercial database, and I do so now. In this book, I devote Chapters 13 and 14 exclusively to that subject.
Another concern of mine has been, and continues to be, precision. A database management system (DBMS) is a reasonably complex system, even if unnecessary complexity is completely avoided. The relational model intentionally does not specify how a DBMS should be built, but it does specify what should be built, and for that it provides a precise specification. An important adjunct to precision is a sound theoretical foundation. The relational model is solidly based on two parts of mathematics: first-order predicate logic and the theory of relations. This book, however, does not dwell on the theoretical foundations, but rather on all the features of the relational model that I now perceive as important for database users, and therefore for DBMS vendors. My perceptions result from 20 years of practical experience in computing and data processing (chiefly, but not exclusively, with large-scale customers of IBM), followed by another 20 years of research.
I believe that this is the first book to deal exclusively with the relational approach. It does, however, include design principles in Chapters 21 and 22. It is also the first book on the relational model by the orginator of that model.
This book collects in one document much of what has appeared in my technical papers, but with numerous new features, plus more detailed explanation (and some emphasis) on those features of RM/V1 and RM/V2 that capture some aspects of the meaning of the data. This emphasis is intended to counter the numerous allegations that the relational model is devoid of semantics. I also hope that this document will challenge vendors to get the job done.


68P15 Database theory
68-02 Research exposition (monographs, survey articles) pertaining to computer science