Join operator *

The Join operator A * B combines the matching information in A and B. The result contains all matching combinations of tuples from both arguments.

Principles of joins

  1. The operands A and B must be join-compatible.
  2. The primary key of the result is the union of the primary keys of the operands.

Examples of joins

Example 1 : When the operands have no common attributes, the result is the cross product -- all combinations of tuples.

Example 2 : When the operands have common attributes, only tuples with matching values are kept.

Example 3 : Joining on non-primary attribute

Left join

Left joins are not yet implemented:

A modification of the join operator is the left join. It is implemented as A ** B in Python and A .* B in MATLAB. The left join keeps all the tuples from A even in the absence of the matching tuples from B. For tuples with no matches in B, the non-key attributes from B are filled with NULLs.

Example 4 : A left join

Caution: The left join is the only operator that can introduce NULLs in the primary key of the result. NULLs in primary attributes may produce unintuitive results in subsequent expressions.

Properties of join

  1. When A and B have the same attributes, the join A * B becomes equivalent to the set intersection A

    B. Hence, DataJoint does not need a separate intersection operator.
  2. Commutative: A * B is equivalent to B * A. However, the left join is not commutative.
  3. Associative: (A * B) * C is equivalent to A * (B * C). However, the left joint is not associative.