A hyperrelational approach to integration and manipulation of data in multidatabase systems

Chiang Lee, Ming Chuan Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The issue of interoperability among multiple autonomous databases has attracted a lot of attention from researchers in these years. The past research on this issue can be roughly divided into two main categories: the tightly-integrated approach that integrate databases by building an integrated schema and the loosely-integrated approach that achieves interoperability by using a multidatabase language. Most of the past efforts focused on the issues in the first approach. The problem with the first approach is, however, that it lacks a convenient representation of the integrated schema at the system level and a sound mathematical basis for data manipulation in a multidatabase system. In this paper, we propose to use hyperrelations as a powerful and succinct model for the global level representation of heterogeneous database schemas. A hyperrelation has the structure of a relation, but its contents are the schemas of the semantically equivalent local relations in the databases. With this representation, the metadata of the global database, local databases and the data of these databases are all representable by using the structure of a relation. The impact of such a representation is that all the elegant features of relational systems can be easily extended to multidatabase systems. A hyperrelational algebra is designed accordingly. This algebra is performed at the multidatabase systems (MDBS) level such that query transformation and optimization is supported on a sound mathematical basis. The major contributions of this paper include: (1) Local relations of various schemas (even though they retain information of the same semantics) can be systematically mapped to hyperrelations. As the structure of a hyperrelation is similar to that of a relation, data manipulation and management tasks (such as design of the global query language and the view mechanism) are greatly facilitated. (2) The hyperrelational algebra provides a sound basis for query transformation and optimization in a MDBS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-429
Number of pages35
JournalInternational Journal of Cooperative Information Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications


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