The grid file: An adaptable, symmetric multi-key file structure

  • J. Nievergelt
  • H. Hinterberger
  • K. C. Sevcik
Data Systems
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 123)


Traditional file structures that provide multi-key access to records, for example inverted files, are extensions of file structures originally designed for single-key access. They manifest various deficiencies, in particular for multi-key access to highly dynamic files. We study the dynamic aspects of file structures that treat all keys symmetrically, that is, avoid the distinction between primary key and secondary keys. We start from a bitmap approach and treat the problem of file design as one of data compression of a large sparse matrix. This leads to the notion of a grid directory, which is the key to a dynamic file structure called the grid file. The file system described adapts gracefully to its contents under insertions and deletions (remains balanced). It achieves an upper bound of two disk accesses on the average. First results of a simulation of the behavior of one implementation of the grid file are presented.

Key words

File structures database dynamic storage allocation multikey searching 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Nievergelt
    • 1
  • H. Hinterberger
    • 1
  • K. C. Sevcik
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut fuer InformatikETHZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Computer Systems Research GroupUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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