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Algebraic Specification of Serializability for Partitioned Transactions

Authors: Walter Hussak, John Keane


The usual correctness condition for a schedule of concurrent database transactions is some form of serializability of the transactions. For general forms, the problem of deciding whether a schedule is serializable is NP-complete. In those cases other approaches to proving correctness, using proof rules that allow the steps of the proof of serializability to be guided manually, are desirable. Such an approach is possible in the case of conflict serializability which is proved algebraically by deriving serial schedules using commutativity of non-conflicting operations. However, conflict serializability can be an unnecessarily strong form of serializability restricting concurrency and thereby reducing performance. In practice, weaker, more general, forms of serializability for extended models of transactions are used. Currently, there are no known methods using proof rules for proving those general forms of serializability. In this paper, we define serializability for an extended model of partitioned transactions, which we show to be as expressive as serializability for general partitioned transactions. An algebraic method for proving general serializability is obtained by giving an initial-algebra specification of serializable schedules of concurrent transactions in the model. This demonstrates that it is possible to conduct algebraic proofs of correctness of concurrent transactions in general cases.

Keywords: serializability, Algebraic Specification, Partitioned Transactions

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