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IBM Peterlee Relational Test Vehicle (PRTV)

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Title: IBM Peterlee Relational Test Vehicle (PRTV)  
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Subject: ISBL, IBM software
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IBM Peterlee Relational Test Vehicle (PRTV)

PRTV (Peterlee Relational Test Vehicle) was the world's first relational database management system that could handle significant data volumes.

It was a relational query system with powerful query facilities, but very limited update facility and no simultaneous multiuser facility. PRTV was a follow-on from the very first relational implementation, IS1.


PRTV included several firsts in the relational database area:

  • implemented relational optimizer [1]
  • implemented cost based relational optimizer [2]
  • handle tables of 1000 rows up to 10,000,000 rows[3]
  • user defined functions (UDFs) within an RDB (also a large suite of built-in functions such as trigonometric and statistical)[4]
  • geographic information system based on an RDB (using UDFs such as point-in-polygon).[5]

PRTV was based on a relational algebra, Information Systems Base Language (ISBL) and followed the relational model very strictly. Even features such as user defined functions were formalized within that model.[6] The PRTV team also introduced surrogates to the relational model[4] to help formalize relational update operations; and a formalisation for updating through views.[7] However neither of these was implemented within PRTV. PRTV emphatically did not implement NULL values, because this conception was introduced only in 1979.[8]

PRTV was itself never available as a product, but the Urban Management System[9] built on it was available as a limited IBM product.


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