Encyclopedia of Database Systems

2018 Edition
| Editors: Ling Liu, M. Tamer Özsu

Atelic Data

  • Vijay KhatriEmail author
  • Richard T. Snodgrass
  • Paolo Terenziani
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8265-9_1530


Point-based temporal data; Snapshot data


Atelic data is temporal data describing facts that do not involve a goal or culmination. In ancient Greek, telos means “goal,” and α is used as prefix to denote negation. In the context of temporal databases, atelic data is that data for which both upward and downward (temporal) inheritance hold. Specifically,
  • Downward inheritance. The downward inheritance property implies that one can infer from temporal data d that holds at valid time t (where t is a time period) and that d holds in any subperiod (and sub-point) of t.

  • Upward inheritance. The upward inheritance property implies that one can infer from temporal data d that holds at two consecutive or overlapping time periods t1 and t2 and that d holds in the union time period t1  ∪  t2.

Atelic data is differentiated from telic data, in which neither upward nor downward inheritance holds.

Key Points

Starting from Aristotle [1], researchers in areas such as philosophy,...

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Recommended Reading

  1. 1.
    Aristotle. The categories on interpretation prior analytics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 2002.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Terenziani P, Snodgrass RT. Reconciling point-based and interval-based semantics in temporal relational databases: a proper treatment of the telic/atelic distinction. IEEE Trans Knowl Data Eng. 2004;16(4):540–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC (outside the USA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vijay Khatri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard T. Snodgrass
    • 2
    • 3
  • Paolo Terenziani
    • 4
  1. 1.Operations and Decision Technologies Department, Kelley School of BusinessIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  3. 3.Dataware VenturesTucsonUSA
  4. 4.Dipartimento di Scienze e Innovazione Tecnologica (DiSIT)Università del Piemonte Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”AlessandriaItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • Richard T. Snodgrass
    • 1
  • Christian S. Jensen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Aalborg UniversityAalborg ØstDenmark