Department of Computer Science and Technology

Technical reports

Prediction oriented description of database systems

Mark Theodore Pezarro

190 pages

This technical report is based on a dissertation submitted October 1978 by the author for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the University of Cambridge, Darwin College.

DOI: 10.48456/tr-10


A descriptive model of database systems is presented. The model is intended to provide a general framework for the description of database systems which is not limited to any particular DBMS or even any of the three mainstream approaches to DBMS architecture. This generality is derived from a new analysis of file organisation methods on which the model is based. The model concentrates on the aspects of a database system relevant to first-order performance prediction. These include database structure, the hardware and software used in implementing the system, the size of the database at various points in its lifetime, and its known or anticipated usage. Particular attention has been devoted to arriving at a general treatment of the details of database systems at the physical level, including access paths and their encoding, storage devices and their operating characteristics, and the mapping of data representations to storage devices.

A formal language has been devised in which to write textual descriptions of a database system in terms of the model. In addition an experimental prediction program has been written which accepts a description of a database system expressed in the language and produces performance estimates for the described activity using computational methods based on expected value formulae. Some preliminary results obtained by comparing estimates given by the program with measurements of an operational database system are presented. Further experimentation that would allow a definitive evaluation of the prediction program is outlined and a review is made of the current limitations of the model and program with suggestions for further research.

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BibTeX record

  author =	 {Pezarro, Mark Theodore},
  title = 	 {{Prediction oriented description of database systems}},
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  doi = 	 {10.48456/tr-10},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-10}