Encyclopedia of Database Systems

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

Temporal Indeterminacy

  • Curtis E. DyresonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8265-9_398


Fuzzy time; Imprecise time


Temporal indeterminacy refers to “don’t know when” information, or more precisely, “don’t know exactly when.” The modifier “temporally indeterminate” indicates that the modified object has an associated time, but that the time is not known precisely. The time when an event happens, when a time interval begins or ends, or even the duration of a period may be indeterminate. For example, the event of a car accident might be “sometime last week,” the interval an airplane flight takes may be from “Friday to Saturday,” or the duration a graduate student takes to write a dissertation may be “four to fifteen years.”

The adjective “temporal” allows parallel kinds of indeterminacy to be defined, such as spatial indeterminacy. There is a subtle difference between indeterminate and imprecise. In this context, indeterminate is a more general term than imprecise since precision is commonly associated with making measurements. Typically, a precise...

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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Utah State UniversityLoganUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Richard T. Snodgrass
    • 1
  • Christian S. Jensen
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Aalborg UniversityAalborg ØstDenmark