Simplicial Databases, David I. Spivak.
In this paper, we define a category DB, called the category of simplicial databases, whose objects are databases and whose morphisms are data-preserving maps. Along the way we give a precise formulation of the category of relational databases, and prove that it is a full subcategory of DB. We also prove that limits and colimits always exist in DB and that they correspond to queries such as select, join, union, etc. One feature of our construction is that the schema of a simplicial database has a natural geometric structure: an underlying simplicial set. The geometry of a schema is a way of keeping track of relationships between distinct tables, and can be thought of as a system of foreign keys. The shape of a schema is generally intuitive (e.g. the schema for round-trip flights is a circle consisting of an edge from $A$ to $B$ and an edge from $B$ to $A$), and as such, may be useful for analyzing data. We give several applications of our approach, as well as possible advantages it has over the relational model. We also indicate some directions for further research.
This is what happens when you try to take the existence of ORDER BY and COUNT in SQL seriously. :-)
If you're puzzled by how a geometric idea like simplexes could show up here, remember that the algebraic view of simplicial sets is as presheaves on the category of finite total orders and order-preserving maps. Every finite sequence gives rise to a total order on its set of positions, and tables have rows and columns as sequences!
Recent comments
13 weeks 3 days ago
17 weeks 5 days ago
19 weeks 2 days ago
19 weeks 2 days ago
22 weeks 6 hours ago
26 weeks 4 days ago
26 weeks 4 days ago
27 weeks 16 hours ago
27 weeks 16 hours ago
29 weeks 6 days ago