June 5, 2010


I talked Friday with Chris Piedemonte and Gary Sherman, respectively the Cofounder/CTO and Chief Mathematician of Algebraix, who hooked up together for this project back in 2003 or 2004. (Algebraix is the company formerly known as XSPRADA.) Algebraix makes an analytic DBMS, somewhat based on the ideas of extended set theory, that runs on SMP (Symmetric MultiProcessing) boxes. Like all analytic DBMS vendors, Algebraix has on some occasions run some queries orders of magnitude faster than they ran on the systems users were looking to replace.

Algebraix’s secret sauce is that the DBMS keeps reorganizing and recopying the data on disk, to optimize performance in response to expected query patterns (automatically inferred from queries it’s seen so far). This sounds a lot like the Infobright story, with some of the more obvious differences being:  Read more

June 5, 2010

Extended set theory, aka “What is a tuple anyway?”

The Algebraix folks are trying to repopularize David Childs’ idea of “Extended set theory.” In a nutshell, the extended set theory idea is:

A tuple is a set of (field-name, field-value) pairs.

I’ve been fairly negative about the extended set theory concept – but in fairness, that may be because I misunderstood how other people thought of tuples. Any time I’ve had to formalize what I thought of a tuple as being, I came up with something very much like the above, except that if one wants to be relational one needs a requirement like:

In any one tuple, each field-name must be unique.

In line with that definition, I’d say a table is something like:  Read more

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