Encyclopedia of Database Systems

2018 Edition
| Editors: Ling Liu, M. Tamer Özsu

Computationally Complete Relational Query Languages

  • Victor VianuEmail author
  • Dirk Van Gucht
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8265-9_1243


Complete query languages; Chandra and Harel complete query languages


A relational query language (or query language) is a set of expressions (or programs). The semantics of a query language defines for each of these expressions a corresponding query which is a generic, computable function from finite relation instances to finite relation instances over fixed schemas. A query language is computationally complete (or complete) if it defines all queries.

The genericity condition is a consistency criterion requiring that a query commute with isomorphisms of the database domain. Thus, when applied to isomorphic input relation instances, a query returns isomorphic output relation instances. The concept of genericity is based on the well-accepted idea that the result of a query should be independent of the representation of data in a database and should treat the elements of the database as uninterpreted objects [4]. The computability condition requires that the query can...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Recommended Reading

  1. 1.
    Abiteboul S, Hull R, Vianu V. Foundations of databases. Reading: Addison-Wesley; 1995.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Abiteboul S, Kanellakis PC. Object identity as a query language primitive. J ACM. 1998;45(5):798–842.MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Abiteboul S, Vianu V. Procedural languages for database queries and updates. J Comput Syst Sci. 1990;41(2):181–229.MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Aho AV, Ullman JD. Universality of data retrieval languages. In: Proceedings of the 6th ACM SIGACT-SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages; 1979. p. 110–20.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bancilhon F. On the completeness of query languages for relational data bases. In: Proceedings of the 7th Symposium on the Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science; 1978. p. 112–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Chandra A. Programming primitives for database languages. In: Proceedings of the 8th ACM SIGACT-SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages; 1981. p. 50–62.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Chandra A, Harel D. Computable queries for relational data bases. J Comput Syst Sci. 1980;21(2):156–78.MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chandra A, Harel D. Structure and complexity of relational queries. J Comput Syst Sci. 1982;25(1):99–128.zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Codd E. A relational model for large shared databanks. Commun ACM. 1970;13(6):377–87.zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Codd E. Relational completeness of data base sublanguages. In: Rustin R, editor. Data base systems. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall; 1972. p. 65–98.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Fagin R. Monadic generalized spectra. Z Math Logik Grundlagen Math. 1975;21(1):2189–96.MathSciNetzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gyssens M, Van den Bussche J, Van Gucht D. Complete geometric query languages. J Comput Syst Sci. 1999;58(3):483–511.MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Paredaens J. On the expressive power of the relational algebra. Inf Process Lett. 1978;7(2):107–11.MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Paredaens J. Spatial databases, a new frontier. In: Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Database Theory; 1995. p. 14–32.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Tarski A, Corcoran J. What are logical notions? Hist Philos Logic. 1986;7:154.MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Van den Bussche J, Van Gucht D, Andries M, Gyssens M. On the completeness of object-creating database transformation languages. J ACM. 1997;44(2):272–319.MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Vardi MY. The complexity of relational query languages. In: Proceedings of the 14th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing; 1982. p. 137–46.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California-San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Leonid Libkin
    • 1
  1. 1.School of InformaticsUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK