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Information IntegrationLecture 2. Data Model. Michael Genesereth Autumn 2001. Objects. Objects are the basis for our data model. Primitive: Quark23 Composite: Engine14 , CS246 Physical: Earth , Moon , Sun Abstract: Justice , CS246

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Data Model

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Information IntegrationLecture 2

Data Model

Michael Genesereth Autumn 2001


  • Objects are the basis for our data model.

    • Primitive: Quark23

    • Composite: Engine14, CS246

    • Physical: Earth, Moon, Sun

    • Abstract: Justice, CS246

    • Real: Jennifer, Mike, CS246

    • Imaginary: Sherlock Holmes, Unicorn3

Objects as Data Structures




Without loss of generality, we can think about objects as data structures in a computer with a 1-1 correspondence to real world objects.

NB: To accommodate numbers and strings, the computer might have to be infinitely large.

Universe of Discourse

The Universe of Discourse is the set of all objects about which we want to say something.


  • An n-ary relation is a set of n-tuples of objects from a universe of discourse.

    • Jennifer is a professor.

    • Mike is a professor.

    • Jennifer teachesCS145.

    • Mike teaches CS157.

    • Mike teaches CS246.

    • John got an A in CS145.

    • John got a B in CS157.

Arity versus Cardinality

  • The arity of a relation is the number of objects involved in any tuple. The cardinality is the number of tuples.

  • Arity 1 cardinality 3: Arity 3 cardinality 2:

    • Mike is a professor.John got an A in CS145.

    • Jennifer is a professor.John got a B in CS157.

    • Zohar is a professor.

  • Arity 2 cardinality 4:

    • Jennifer teachesCS145.

    • Mike teaches CS157.

    • Mike teaches CS246.

    • Zohar teaches CS157.

Tabular Representation


A class is a structure consisting of a unary relation (the class predicate) and a finite set of binary relations (its attributes).

Class: course

Predicate: course.instance

Attribute: course.title

Attribute: course.teacher

Attribute: course.prerequisite


The extension of a class is the set of objects that satisfy the class predicate.


Each attribute of a class associates members of the class’s extension with corresponding values.

Tabular Representation of Classes

NB: Class tables are rarely in first normal form.

Memory-Resident Representation

Direct Object-Oriented Representation

Real-World Objects represented as Structured Objects

Relationships as pointers

Reverse Relationships are reverse pointers

Sentential Representation

Real-World Objects represented as Structured Objects

Sentences are objects

Objects point to sentences containing them

Graph Representation













Naming of objects necessary for communication.

Choice #1:

* All objects named

Some objects named; others referenced by properties

Choice #2:

Relative Names

* Globally Unique Names

Relative Naming via Foreign Keys

In relative naming, all entries are strings (usually without quotes). Some are just strings (e.g. nicknames, addresses, descriptions, and so forth). Some refer to objects.

Object references formalized by use of foreign keys, i.e. the use within one table of the value for the key attribute for another table.

Globally Unique Name Scheme

A name is a sequence of alphanumeric characters together with various connector characters, such as / and . and _.

Choice #3:

Type determined by spelling

Type determined by name registry

* Mixture

Choice #4: Semantically meaningful names

Semantically meaningless names

* Mixture

Predefined Names






#\a #\b #\c


“abc def ghi”

“abc \”def\” ghi”

“abc \”d\\f\” ghi”

Objects versus Strings

Object name refers to an object


String name refers to a string

“john” john

Objects and strings do not have same properties:

John is 33 years old.

“John” includes the character #\h.

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