A logic-based integration of active and deductive databases

A. A A Fernandes, Howard Williams, Norman W. Paton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


A logic-based approach to the specification of active database functionality is presented which not only endows active databases with a well-defined and well-understood formal semantics, but also tightly integrates them with deductive databases. The problem of endowing deductive databases with rule-based active behaviour has been addressed in different ways. Typical approaches include accounting for active behaviour by extending the operational semantics of deductive databases, or, conversely, accounting for deductive capabilities by constraining the operational semantics of active databases. The main contribution of the paper is an alternative approach in which a class of active databases is defined whose operational semantics is naturally integrated with the operational semantics of deductive databases without either of them strictly subsuming the other. The approach is demonstrated via the formalization of the syntax and semantics of an active-rule language that can be smoothly incorporated into existing deductive databases, due to the fact that the standard formalization of deductive databases is reused, rather than altered or extended. One distinctive feature of the paper is its use of a history, as defined in the Kowalski-Sergot event-calculus, to define event occurrences, database states and actions on these. This has proved to be a suitable foundation for a comprehensive logical account of the concept set underpinning active databases. The paper thus contributes a logical perspective to the ongoing task of developing a formal theory of active databases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-244
Number of pages40
JournalNew Generation Computing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Active Databases
  • Deductive Databases
  • Event Calculi
  • Logic Programming


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