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What goes around comes around

2011/03/22

Reading “A co-Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks” (a title inspired by Codd‘s “A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks“) reminded me of M. Stonebraker’s and J. Hellerstein’s “What goes around comes around” which is one of the coolest papers one can read if one wants to know how life was before the Relational Model (that is before SQL for those who do not love theory). It is also a cool reading for the NoSQL crowd because while you might think this is all new, it’s actually a bit of a return to the past.

It seems that this co-relational model tries to answer my favorite question directed to NoSQLers: “Where is the math?” It does so by using category theory. However:

“Obviously, the precise formalization of SQL and noSQL as categories is outside the scope of this article”

Although my category-fu is non-existent I could not help not remembering Pauli‘s response to Heisenberg’s claims that they (Pauli and Heisenberg) had found a unified theory but the technical details were missing:

This is to show the world that I can paint like Titian.

Pauli's Titian

Only technical details are missing

It will be really nice if this duality is formally proven for I had a hunch that a relationship existed, only I could not really determine it.

[Pauli’s painting from here]

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2 Responses to “What goes around comes around”

  1. Michael Iatrou Says:

    Expecting everybody to have a solid background in the theory and history of the “technicalities” of their current job is an unrealistic expectation. Especially if you focus on the US job market and the forces that shape it.

    The same applies for SQL vs. NoSQL: few know which is the proper tool for each problem. The rest will just go through a try-and-error educational experience.

  2. thanos Says:

    It is indeed very unfortunate that this paper:

    1. Claims to have formalized noSQL and to have PROVEN the equivalence.
    2. Does not provide the formalism, or the proof, or even a theorem and a sketch of the proof.
    3. Does not even provide a reference to the actual work, so that people that DO know Category Theory can actually read & verify.

    It is even more unfortunate that this paper got PUBLISHED, given the aforementioned issues. Although, to be fair (or pragmatic), I have seen a lot worse when it comes to CACM. But I expected more from ACMQ.


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