An SQL extension for specification of multimedia displays: Its syntax, architecture, and semantics based on a non -Markovian action language

Graciela Gonzalez Hernandez, University of Texas at El Paso


This dissertation will present the full syntax, semantics, and architecture of an extension to the query language SQL. The extended language, SQL+D, allows users to include high-level display specifications within an SQL query, particularly when dealing with multimedia databases. That is, using SQL+D, the user can specify in a query both the data that needs to be extracted and how it should be displayed, without having to write a program to construct the display. For example, say the user is querying a database that contains information about CS professors, like biographical information and a picture of the professor, plus the research documents authored by him or her, and a video where the professor talks about his or her interests. Using SQL+D, the user is able to specify that he/she wants the name of the professor centered on top, with the picture on the upper left comer, the biographical data below the picture, and a list of his/her research papers on the right. The user can also specify that if the user were to click on a particular research paper, that document would be displayed in full, or that upon clicking on a button, the video is displayed. All of these specifications can be done within the query, with simple commands, without writing a single fine of code. In addition to the capabilities just described, SQL+D allows the specification of temporal presentations with the data extracted from the database. It also allows data to be visualized using charts or graphs, and even as 3-dimensional virtual worlds where the user can navigate through the data. We also present a semantic model of the most important features of SQL+D. The model is based on a non-Markovian temporal action language called ALAN. We present the full syntax and semantics of ALAN, to provide a means of expressing the behavior of complex, dynamic multimedia displays, modeling both user-initiated actions and system actions as well as temporal presentations, triggers, and data elements that span over time such as video and audio. To the best of our knowledge, ALAN is the first non-Markovian action language presented.

Subject Area

Computer science

Recommended Citation

Gonzalez Hernandez, Graciela, "An SQL extension for specification of multimedia displays: Its syntax, architecture, and semantics based on a non -Markovian action language" (2000). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI9997671.