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Journal of the ACM
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Degrees of acyclicity for hypergraphs and relational database schemes

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Abstract

Database schemes (winch, intuitively, are collecuons of table skeletons) can be wewed as hypergraphs (A hypergraph Is a generalization of an ordinary undirected graph, such that an edge need not contain exactly two nodes, but can instead contain an arbitrary nonzero number of nodes.) A class of “acychc” database schemes was recently introduced. A number of basic desirable propemes of database schemes have been shown to be equivalent to acyclicity This shows the naturalness of the concept. However, unlike the situation for ordinary, undirected graphs, there are several natural, noneqmvalent notions of acyclicity for hypergraphs (and hence for database schemes). Various desirable properties of database schemes are constdered and it is shown that they fall into several equivalence classes, each completely characterized by the degree of acycliclty of the scheme The results are also of interest from a purely graph-theoretic viewpomt. The original notion of aeyclicity has the countermtmtive property that a subhypergraph of an acychc hypergraph can be cyclic. This strange behavior does not occur for the new degrees of acyelicity that are considered. © 1983, ACM. All rights reserved.

Date

01 Jul 1983

Publication

Journal of the ACM

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