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The mathematical concept underlying the relational model is the
set-theoretic *relation* which is a subset
of the Cartesian product of a list of domains. This set-theoretic
relation gives the model its name (do not confuse it with the
relationship from the *Entity-Relationship
model*). Formally a domain is simply a set of values. For
example the set of integers is a domain. Also the set of character
strings of length 20 and the real numbers are examples of
domains.

The *Cartesian product* of domains
`D _{1}`,

For example, when we have `k`=2,
`D _{1}`=

A Relation is any subset of the Cartesian product of one or more
domains: `R` ⊆ `D _{1}` ×

For example `{(0,a),(0,b),(1,a)}` is a
relation; it is in fact a subset of `D _{1}` ×

The members of a relation are called tuples. Each relation of
some Cartesian product `D _{1}`
×

A relation can be viewed as a table (as we already did, remember
The Suppliers and Parts
Database where every tuple is represented by a row and every
column corresponds to one component of a tuple. Giving names
(called attributes) to the columns leads to the definition of a
*relation scheme*.

A *relation scheme* `R` is a finite set of attributes `A _{1}`,

Note:Arelation schemeis just a kind of template whereas arelationis an instance of arelation scheme. The relation consists of tuples (and can therefore be viewed as a table); not so the relation scheme.

We often talked about *domains* in the
last section. Recall that a domain is, formally, just a set of
values (e.g., the set of integers or the real numbers). In terms of
database systems we often talk of *data
types* instead of domains. When we define a table we have to
make a decision about which attributes to include. Additionally we
have to decide which kind of data is going to be stored as
attribute values. For example the values of `SNAME` from the table `SUPPLIER` will be character strings, whereas
`SNO` will store integers. We define this
by assigning a data type to each attribute. The type of `SNAME` will be VARCHAR(20) (this is the SQL type for character strings of length <=
20), the type of `SNO` will be
INTEGER. With the assignment of a data
type we also have selected a domain for an attribute. The domain of
`SNAME` is the set of all character
strings of length <= 20, the domain of `SNO` is the set of all integer numbers.