Database in Depth:
Relational Theory for Practitioners

by Chris Date


Years of experience in working with database community strongly suggest a need for a seminar that covers relational principles in a way not tainted by the quirks and peculiarities of existing products, commercial practice, or the current version of the SQL standard. This seminar has been designed to meet that need.
It's aimed primarily at database practitioners (that is, people working in the database field, perhaps on a daily basis) who feel they don't have as much understanding of the theory underlying their own field as they might.
That theory is, of course, the Relational Model, and while the fundamental ideas of that model are all quite simple, they are widely misrepresented in the trade press and elsewhere; indeed, they're widely misunderstood, and often not understood at all. For example, can you answer the following questions?

  1. What exactly is first normal form?
  2. What's the connection between relations and predicates?
  3. What's semantic optimization?
  4. What's a join dependency?
  5. Why is semidifference important?
  6. Why doesn't deferred integrity checking make sense?
  7. What's a relation variable?
  8. What's nonloss decomposition?
  9. Can a relation have an attribute whose values are relations?
  10. What's the difference between SQL and the Relational Model?
  11. Why is the Information Principle important?
  12. How does XML fit with the Relational Model?

This seminar provides the answers to these and many related questions. Overall, the intent is to help true database Professionals understand relational theory in depth and make use of that understanding in their day-to-day database activities.

Main Topics

  • Relations versus Types
  • Tuples and Relations
  • Relation Variables
  • Relation Algebra
  • Integrity Constraints
  • Database Design
  • What is the Relational Model?