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Correctness of SQL Queries on Databases with Nulls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-16
Number of pages12
JournalSIGMOD Rec.
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2017


Multiple issues with SQL’s handling of nulls have been well documented. Having efficiency as its main goal, SQL disregards the standard notion of correctness on incomplete databases - certain answers - due to its high complexity. As a result, the evaluation of SQL queries on databases with nulls may produce answers that are just plain wrong. However, SQL evaluation can be modified, at least for relational algebra queries, to approximate certain answers, i.e., return only correct answers. We examine recently proposed approximation schemes for certain answers and analyze their complexity, both theoretical bounds and real-life behavior.

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