Temporal connectives versus explicit timestamps in temporal query languages

preliminary report
  • Serge Abiteboul
  • Laurent Herr
  • Jan Van den Bussche
Part of the Workshops in Computing book series (WORKSHOPS COMP.)


Some temporal query languages work directly on a timestamp representation of the temporal database, while others provide a more implicit access to the flow of time by means of temporal connectives. We study the differences in expressive power between these two approaches. We first consider first-order logic (i. e., the relational calculus). We show that first-order future temporal logic is strictly less powerful than the relational calculus with explicit timestamps. We also consider extensions of the relational calculus with iteration constructs such as least fixpoints or while-loops. We again compare augmentations of these languages with temporal left and right moves on the one hand, and with explicit timestamps on the other hand. For example, we show that a version of fixpoint logic with left and right moves lies between the explicit timestamp versions of first-order and fixpoint logic, respectively


Local Time Temporal Logic Turing Machine Expressive Power Database Scheme 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    S. Abiteboul, L. Herr, and J. Van den Bussche. Temporal connectives versus explicit timestamps in temporal query languages. Technical report, INRIA, 1995. in preparation.Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    S. Abiteboul, R. Hull, and V. Vianu. Foundations of Databases. Addison- Wesley; 1994.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    S. Abiteboul and E. Simon. Fundamental properties of deterministic and nondeterministic extensions of Datalog. Theoretical Computer Science, 78: 137–158, 1991.CrossRefMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  4. [4]
    S. Abiteboul and V. Vianu. Generic computation and its complexity. In Proceedings 23rd ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing, pages 209–219, 1991.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    A. Casanova and A. Furtado. On the description of database transition constraints using temporal constraints. In H. Gallaire, J. Minker, and J.-M. Nicolas, editors, Advances in Data Base Theory, pages 211–236. Plenum Press, 1984.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    J. Chomicki. History-less checking of temporal integrity constraints. In Proceedings 8th International Conference on Data Engineering. IEEE, 1992.Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    J. Chomicki. Temporal query languages: a survey. In D.M. Gabbay and H.J. Ohlbach, editors, Temporal Logic: ICTL’94) volume 827 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 506–534. Springer-Verlag, 1994.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    J. Clifford, A. Croker, and A. Tuzhilin. On completeness of historical relational query languages. ACM Transactions on Database Systems, 19 (1): 64–116, 1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. [9]
    E.A. Emerson. Temporal and modal logic. In J. van Leeuwen, editor, Handbook of Theoretical Computer Science, volume B, chapter 16. Elsevier science publishers, 1990.Google Scholar
  10. [10]
    J.E. Hopcroft and J.D. Ullman. Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages, and Computation. Addison-Wesley, 1979.Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    A. Tansel et al., editors. Temporal Databases: Theory, Design, and Implementation. Benjamin/Cummings, 1993.Google Scholar
  12. [12]
    M.Y. Vardi. A temporal fixpoint calculus. In Proceedings 5th ACM Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages, pages 250–259, 1988.Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    P. Wolper. Temporal logic can be more expressive. Information and Control, 56: 72–93, 1983.CrossRefMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© British Computer Society 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Serge Abiteboul
    • 1
  • Laurent Herr
    • 1
  • Jan Van den Bussche
    • 1
  1. 1.RocquencourtINRIA, Domaine de VoluceauLe Chesnay Cedex ParisFrance

Personalised recommendations