Re: Sixth normal form
Date: Fri, 03 Aug 2007 15:55:53 GMT
"Jan Hidders" <hidders_at_gmail.com> wrote in message
> On 1 aug, 15:51, "Brian Selzer" <br..._at_selzer-software.com> wrote:
>> "Jan Hidders" <hidd..._at_gmail.com> wrote in message
>> > On 30 jul, 12:45, Sameeksha <sameeksha.ch..._at_gmail.com> wrote:
>> >> Googling out for definition and explanation for sixth normal form only
>> >> resulted in the following information - "6th normal form states that a
>> >> relation R should not contain any non-trivial join dependencies". Also
>> >> everywhere it is stated that this normal form takes into account the
>> >> temporal (time) dimension to the relational model, and that current
>> >> implementations like SQL server 2005 do not implement this normal
>> >> form.
>> > It would help if you first explained what you already know, so we
>> > don't spend time on explaining what you already know. Do you know what
>> > at join dependency is? Do you know when it is trivial?
>> > Btw. where and in what context did you read that SQL server did not
>> > support this normal form? That is a rather odd statement since the
>> > normal form is just about how much to split your relations into
>> > projections, so strictly speaking it needs no support at all form the
>> > DBMS. But perhaps support for temporal features was meant?
>> >> Any more explanation and preferably an example would help in
>> >> understanding the concept behind this normal form.
>> > Informally put it says that every distinct fact gets its own relation
>> > or "if you can split, then you should". So if you have a relation
>> > Student(student_id, name, address) then the fact that the student with
>> > a certain id has a certain name is split form the fact the this
>> > student lives at a certain address. This is different from 5NF since
>> > there you only split when there is a risk of redundancy or update
>> > anomalies.
>> I think it is important to emphasize the fact that vertically splitting a
>> 5NF relation into a set of 6NF relations has consequences, specifically
>> need to enforce mutual foreign keys or a circular inclusion dependency,
>> depending upon the number of resulting 6NF relations. This is important
>> because support in commercial RDBMSs for enforcing such constraints is
>> severely limited, if not nonexistent, since it requires an implementation
>> multiple assignment. Therefore splitting should only be done when
>> absolutely necessary, for example, to support a temporal dimension.
> Agreed. I would add that this is not specific for going from 5NF to
> 6NF but anywhere you decompose to go from a lower to a higher normal
Not always. If two sets of attributes are independent, as is the case when moving from 1NF to 2NF, then there is no need for a referential constraint; if two projections are independent, as is the case when moving from BCNF to 4NF, then there is no need for a referential constraint. But I see what you're saying. Decomposing a 2NF schema into a BCNF schema is not always dependency preserving. There is also the rare cyclical referential constraint that may be required when moving from 4NF to 5NF.
It is my understanding that the normalization process is used to choose a database schema whose instances can contain /at least the same/ information content as the former but avoids the update anomalies that exist in the less normalized schema. The presence of a functional dependency in a schema indicates that each tuple represents an atomic formula that contains an implication. The presence of "mutual" functional dependencies, such as is the case when there is more than one key, indicates that each tuple represents an atomic formula that contains a biconditional. It is easy to see that the absence of the second functional dependency indicates that a projection that does not include the dependent is independent; whereas the existence of a tuple in the projection that includes the dependent implies the existence of a tuple in the other. Thus decomposing a 2NF relation schema that has a transitive FD into two schemata requires only one referential constraint in order for an instance to have /at least the same/ information content. In order to ensure that instances of the new schema can contain /exactly the same/ information content /and no more/, a pair of referential constraints is required ("mutual" foreign keys, if you will).
The difference between moving from 1NF to 5NF and moving from 5NF to 6NF is that breaking up a set of two or more dependent attributes in a 5NF relation /always/ requires a cyclical constraint in order for an instance of the database schema to be able to contain /at least the same/ information content. If a relation is already in 5NF, then there is no way to separate the set of dependent attributes without losing information. Suppose that A, B and C are dependent attributes in a 5NF relation schema. Then FD ABC --> ABC is implied by the candidate key, as well as the FDs ABC --> A, ABC --> B, and ABC --> C. Splitting the relation vertically so that each relation schema is in 6NF causes those FDs to be lost. The only way for an instance of the database schema to be able to contain /at least the same/ information content as an instance of the 5NF schema is to introduce a cyclical referential constraint.
>> It's somewhat unrelated, but important, nonetheless, to point out that if
>> relation has a temporal dimension, then either every key that it
>> in a foreign key constraint must be immune to updates, or the referenced
>> relation must also have the same temporal dimension. Otherwise, history
>> would have to be rewritten every time an update targets that referenced
> Why would the DBMS not allow history to be rewritten? Of course it
> should allow you to specify that in certain cases it cannot, but in
> general I don't think that is a good idea, if only because you want to
> be able to correct mistakes afterwards.
I never meant that it shouldn't allow it; I meant that it shouldn't necessitate it.
> -- Jan Hidders
Received on Fri Aug 03 2007 - 17:55:53 CEST