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The next three chapters examine how database engines execute SQL queries. The issue is that an SQL query specifies what data to return but not how to get it. The solution is for the engine to implement a set of data-retrieval operators, known as relational algebra. The engine can translate an SQL query to a relational algebra query which can then be executed. This chapter introduces relational algebra queries and their implementation. The following two chapters will examine the translation of SQL into relational algebra.
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