Encyclopedia of Database Systems

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

Atelic Data

  • Vijay KhatriEmail author
  • Richard T. Snodgrass
  • Paolo Terenziani
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-7993-3_1530-2



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,...


Temporal Data Cognitive Science Temporal Model Overlap Time Union Time 
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.
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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) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vijay Khatri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard T. Snodgrass
    • 2
  • Paolo Terenziani
    • 3
  1. 1.Operations and Decision Technologies Department, Kelley School of BusinessIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Scienze e Innovazione Tecnologica (DiSITUniversita’ 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