Relational Algebra and Calculus with SQL Null Values

by   Enrico Franconi, et al.
Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

The logic of nulls in databases has been subject of investigation since their introduction in Codd's Relational Model, which is the foundation of the SQL standard. We show a logical characterisation of a first-order fragment of SQL with null values, by first focussing on a simple extension with null values of standard relational algebra, which captures exactly the SQL fragment, and then proposing two different domain relational calculi, in which the null value is a term of the language but it does not appear as an element of the semantic interpretation domain of the logics. In one calculus, a relation can be seen as a set of partial tuples, while in the other (equivalent) calculus, a relation is horizontally decomposed as a set of relations each one holding regular total tuples. We extend Codd's theorem by proving the equivalence of the relational algebra with both domain relational calculi in presence of SQL null values.


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