An automated tool for relational database design

Sudha Ram, Stephen M. Curran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This paper addresses relational database design using the concept of functional dependencies (FDs). The classical synthesis approach processes a given set of functional dependencies to produce one minimal cover. This cover is then used to develop a relational schema; however, a given set of FDs may have more than one minimal cover. In turn, different minimal covers may give rise to different relational schemata. An enhancement is proposed to the traditional synthesis algorithm that aids in efficiently determining all minimal covers for a given set of functional dependencies. We have implemented a tool called SYNTHESIZER that uses the modified synthesis algorithm to produce relations in Third Normal Form. SYNTHESIZER not only preserves dependencies, but also enforces the lossless join property. SYNTHESIZER has been implemented in Turbo Pascal to operate on IBM-PC compatibles. Expert design heuristics have been incorporated into this tool. The tool supports the requirements collection, conceptual and logical design phases of database design. SYNTHESIZER has been extensively validated by designers in more than 10 different database design projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-259
Number of pages13
JournalInformation Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture


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