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Within the research area of deductive databases three different database tasks have been deeply investigated: query evaluation, update propagation and view updating. Over the last thirty years various inference mechanisms have been proposed for realizing these main functionalities of a rule-based system. However, these inference mechanisms have been rarely used in commercial DB systems until now. One important reason for this is the lack of a uniform approach well-suited for implementation in an SQL-based system. In this paper, the authors present such a uniform approach in form of a new version of the soft consequence operator. Additionally, they present improved transformation-based approaches to query optimization and update propagation and view updating which are all using this operator as underlying evaluation mechanism.
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