Relational calculus consists of two calculi, the tuple relational calculus and the domain relational calculus, that are part of the relational model for databases and provide a declarative way to specify database queries. This in contrast to the relational algebra which is also part of the relational model but provides a more procedural way for specifying queries.
The relational algebra might suggest these steps to retrieve the phone numbers and names of book stores that supply Some Sample Book:
- Join book stores and titles over the BookstoreID.
- Restrict the result of that join to tuples for the book Some Sample Book.
- Project the result of that restriction over StoreName and StorePhone.
The relational calculus would formulate a descriptive, declarative way:
- Get StoreName and StorePhone for supplies such that there exists a title BK with the same BookstoreID value and with a BookTitle value of Some Sample Book.
The relational algebra and the relational calculus are essentially logically equivalent: for any algebraic expression, there is an equivalent expression in the calculus, and vice versa. This result is known as Codd's theorem.
- Date, Christopher J. (2004). An Introduction to Database Systems (8th ed.). Addison Wesley. ISBN 0-321-19784-4.
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