Encyclopedia of Database Systems

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

Data Types in Scientific Data Management

  • Amarnath GuptaEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8265-9_1277


Data sorts; Many sorted algebra; Type theory


In mathematics, logic and computer science, the term “type” has a formal connotation. By assigning a variable to a type in a programming language, one implicitly defines constraints on the domains and operations on the variable. The term “data type” as used in data management derives from the same basic idea. A data type is a specification that concretely defines the “structure” of a data variable of that type, the operations that can be performed on that variable, and any constraints that might apply to them. For example, a “tuple” is a data type defined as a finite sequence (i.e., an ordered list) of objects, each of a specified type; it allows operations like “projection” popularly used in relational algebra.

In science, the term “data type” is sometimes used less formally to refer to a kind of scientific data. For example, one would say “gene expression” or “4D surface mesh of a beating heart” is a data type.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.San Diego Supercomputer CenterUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Amarnath Gupta
    • 1
  1. 1.San Diego Supercomputer CenterUniv. of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA