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Home -> Community -> Usenet -> comp.databases.theory -> Re: In an RDBMS, what does "Data" mean?

Re: In an RDBMS, what does "Data" mean?

From: Dawn M. Wolthuis <dwolt_at_tincat-group.com>
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2004 11:48:55 -0500
Message-ID: <cai0hr$clc$1@news.netins.net>


"Anthony W. Youngman" <wol_at_thewolery.demon.co.uk> wrote in message news:kwZ+nXQrsPxAFwF8_at_thewolery.demon.co.uk...
> In message <a73wc.31$924.207_at_news.oracle.com>, Mikito Harakiri
> <mikharakiri_at_iahu.com> writes
> >P.S. Anthony, admittedly your reasoning is not without intelligence. What
> >are you doing in the Pick camp?
> >
> If you mean me (I think I'm the only Anthony, though there's several
> Tonys), what other camp do you expect me to belong to?
>
> As far as I'm concerned, relational theory is MATHEMATICS.

Relational theory includes some mathematics, it is NOT a branch of mathematics. As you have seen, there are some additional, non-mathematical statements tossed into the mix. At least some of those would claim to be the science of it -- how the mathematics is to be applied.

What appears to be coming out of this discussion is that relational theory, whatever it might be, is neither mathematics nor science, or at least not good science.

> I'm a
> SCIENTIST. And it seems to me the mathematicians have an unhealthy
> disrespect for reality. I don't.

I cannot claim to be a mathematician, but once upon a time I was among them, and I don't think that is quite a fair statement, Mr. Scientist ;-) What you might be misinterpreting as disrespect could very well be related to the scope of mathematics. While science applies some particular mathematics to some particular aspect of reality, that reality is out of scope when doing pure mathematics. It takes science to map a business problem to a mathematical metaphor for the problem. Once it has been mapped, however accurately or not, the mathematics can then proceed to work with the problem within the mathematical model. At that point, whether the mapping was accurate or whether the metaphor was appropriate for this particular business problem are out of scope questions for the mathematics. If you choose to apply mathematics and then do some sort of science to map your results back to the business domain, then that too is outside of the scope of the mathematics.

> You can only get so far with logic, and
> that does not include proving that your maths actually works in the real
> world. My experience tells me it doesn't.

And that is a valid means of coming up with a scientific hypothesis. And when I put my scientist hat on, I arrive at the same hypothesis. Although relational theory doesn't seem to be mathematically provable nor has it been scientifically verified and yet remains King of the Hill, I think we ought to be able to get a little closer on the scientific side of this equation and also use mathematics appropriately in the mix.

Cheers! --dawn Received on Sun Jun 13 2004 - 11:48:55 CDT

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