Relational Algebra

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A Relational Algebra is a formal operation set designed to configure data.



  • (Wikipedia, 2014) ⇒ Retrieved:2014-8-6.
    • In Data Management, relational algebra describes how data is naturally organized into sets of data, aptly so as data is the documentation of a real life person, place or thing and the events or transactions between them at a point in time. Relational algebra, first described by E.F. Codd while at IBM, is a family of algebra with a well-founded semantics used for modelling the data stored in relational databases, and defining queries on it.

      To organize the data, first the redundant data and repeating groups of data are removed, which we call normalized. By doing this the data is organized or normalized into what is called first normal form (1NF). Typically a logical data model documents and standardizes the relationships between data entities (with its elements). A primary key uniquely identifies an instance of an entity, also known as a record.

      Once the data is normalized and in sets of data (entities and tables), the main operations of the relational algebra can be performed which are the set operations (such as union, intersection, and cartesian product), selection (keeping only some lines of a table) and the projection (keeping only some columns). Set operations are performed in the where statement in SQL, which is where one set of data is related to another set of data.

      The main application of relational algebra is providing a theoretical foundation for relational databases, particularly query languages for such databases, chief among which is SQL.