On Semantic Issues Connected with Incomplete Information Databases.

Witold Lipski Jr.: On Semantic Issues Connected with Incomplete Information Databases. ACM Trans. Database Syst. 4(3): 262-296(1979)
  author    = {Witold Lipski Jr.},
  title     = {On Semantic Issues Connected with Incomplete Information Databases},
  journal   = {ACM Trans. Database Syst.},
  volume    = {4},
  number    = {3},
  year      = {1979},
  pages     = {262-296},
  ee        = {, db/journals/tods/Lipski79.html},
  bibsource = {DBLP,}


Various approaches to interpreting queries in a database with incomplete information are discussed. A simple model of a database is described, based on attributes which can take values in specified attribute domains. Information incompleteness means that instead of having a single value of an attribute, we have a subset of the attribute domain, which represents our knowledge that the actual value, though unknown, is one of the values in this subset. This extends the idea of Codd's null value, corresponding to the case when this subset is the whole attribute domain. A simple query language to communicate with such a system is described and its various semantics are precisely defined. We emphasize the distinction between two different interpretations of the query language - the external one, which refers the queries directly to the real world modeled in an incomplete way by the system, and the internal one, under which the queries refer to the system's information about this world, rather than to the world itself. Both external and internal interpretations are provided with the corresponding sets of axioms which serve as a basis for equivalent transformations of queries. The technique of equivalent transformations of queries is then extensively exploited for evaluating the interpretation of (i.e. the response to) a query.

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Joint ACM SIGMOD / IEEE Computer Society Anthology

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E. F. Codd: A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks. Commun. ACM 13(6): 377-387(1970) BibTeX
John Grant: Null Values in a Relational Data Base. Inf. Process. Lett. 6(5): 156-157(1977) BibTeX
Witold Lipski Jr.: On Databases with Incomplete Information. J. ACM 28(1): 41-70(1981) BibTeX
Witold Lipski Jr.: Informational Systems with Incomplete Information. ICALP 1976: 120-130 BibTeX
Witold Lipski Jr.: On the Logic of Incomplete Transformation. MFCS 1977: 374-381 BibTeX
Witold Lipski Jr., V. Wiktor Marek: Information systems: on queries involving cardinalities. Inf. Syst. 4(1): 241-246(1979) BibTeX
V. Wiktor Marek, Zdzislaw Pawlak: Information Storage and Retrieval Systems: Mathematical Foundations. Theor. Comput. Sci. 1(4): 331-354(1976) BibTeX

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