Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Database Systems

pp 1427-1428

Index Join

  • Jingren ZhouAffiliated withMicrosoft Research


Index join; Index loop join; Index nested loop join


The index join is a variant of the nested loop join in database systems using index. The join predicate can be either an equality predicate or a range predicate. The algorithm starts with reading the outer relation R. For each tuple \({\cal R}\in R\), instead of scanning the entire inner relation S, an index on S is used to find matching tuples and add them to the result.

Key Points

An index on S is applicable for an index join if one join attribute is the leading indexed key of the index. If the join predicate is an equality predicate, an index lookup is performed for each outer tuple. If the join predicate is a range predicate, for each outer tuple, an index seek is performed to locate the first matching tuple, followed by an index scan for the rest matching tuples. Compared with the nested loop join, the index join saves disk I/Os for reading the entire inner relation S multiple times.

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