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O'Reilly Webcast: Nullology: The Zen of Database

Nov 2, 2010 6

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Nullology is the study of the empty set. Of course, sets crop up all over the place in the database world; but the question is--and it's a crucial one--what happens if the set under consideration happens to be empty? For example, a relation contains a set of tuples: what about the possibility of a relation containing no tuples at all? Now this particular possibility is a familiar one, because a relation with no tuples is much like a conventional empty file. Even in this case, however, there are interesting aspects to consider that are probably unfamiliar to most database professionals. And there are many other places in the database world where the empty set rears its head, several of them unfamiliar and yet of fundamental importance. Such matters are the subject of this presentation.

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