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Re: Extending my question. Was: The relational model and relational algebra - why did SQL become the industry standard?

From: Steve Kass <skass_at_drew.edu>
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2003 16:43:45 -0500
Message-ID: <b2u9bg$50p$1@slb2.atl.mindspring.net>

Mikito Harakiri wrote:

>This is just a series of random definitions, well spiced with curly
>bracketed symbols. Or is there any wonderful theory about it? Where in math
>did you see "We have 10 unrelated alternative definitions, pick anyone you
>like"?
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Um, everywhere? Pick up half a dozen graph theory textbooks, and you're likely to see nearly as many definitions. Some analysis books define irrationals in terms of Dedekind cuts, others with limits. Riemann integrals get defined in all kinds of ways. The function f(z) = e^z has plenty of useful definitions. Fortunately, mathematics is well-enough founded that the many alternate definitions of a construct are provably equivalent. I would be surprised to hear any mathematician suggest that the existence of many equivalent foundational definitions of a concept indicates that the concept is useless. There is no "one way" to define a mathematical idea using sets.

To throw away all of mathematics because there are equivalent formulations of ideas makes as much sense as to throw away numbers because Europeans, Chinese, and Arabs write them differently.

SK

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Received on Tue Feb 18 2003 - 15:43:45 CST

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