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ON THE SEMANTICS OF TRANSACTION TIME AND VALID TIME IN BITEMPORAL DATABASES

By James Clifford and Tomas Isakowitz

Abstract

Numerous proposals for extending the relational data model to incorporate the temporal dimension of data have appeared in the past several years. While most of these have been historical databases, incorporating in some fashion a valid time dimension to the data model and the query languages, others have been rollback databases, incorporating a transaction time dimension, or bitemporal databases, incorporating both of these temporal dimensions. In this paper we address an issue that has been lacking in many of these papers, namely, a formal specification of the precise semantics of these temporal dimensions of data. We introduce the notion of reference time - the time that any operation is applied to the database state - and provide a logical analysis of the interrelationships among these three temporal dimensions. We also provide an analysis of the meaning of various variables such as now and â which have been used in many of these models without a complete specification of their semantics.Information Systems Working Papers Serie

Publisher: Stern School of Business, New York University
Year: 1992
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