An Algebra for Pomsets

Stéphane Grumbach*, Tova Milo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study languages for manipulating partially ordered structures with duplicates (e.g., trees, lists). As a general framework, we consider the pomset (partially ordered multiset) data type. We introduce an algebra for pomsets, which generalizes traditional algebras for (nested) sets, bags, and lists. This paper is motivated by the study of the impact of different language primitives on the expressive power. We show that the use of partially ordered types increases the expressive power significantly. Surprisingly, it turns out that the algebra when restricted to both unordered (bags) and totally ordered (lists) intermediate types, yields the same expressive power as fixpoint logic with counting on relational databases. It therefore constitutes a rather robust class of relational queries. On the other hand, we obtain a characterization of PTIME queries on lists by considering only totally ordered types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-306
Number of pages39
JournalInformation and Computation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 May 1999


FundersFunder number
Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Robotics and Intelligent Systems


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