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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
On-Line Analytical Processing
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database (OLAP) A category of database software which
provides an interface such that users can transform or limit
raw data according to user-defined or pre-defined functions,
and quickly and interactively examine the results in various
dimensions of the data.
OLAP primarily involves aggregating large amounts of diverse
data. OLAP can involve millions of data items with complex
relationships. Its objective is to analyze these
relationships and look for patterns, trends, and exceptions.
The term was originally coined by Dr. Codd in 1993 with 12
"rules". Since then, the OLAP Council, many vendors, and
Dr. Codd himself have added new requirements and confusion.
Richard Creeth and Nigel Pendse define OLAP as fast analysis
of shared multidimensional information. Their definition
requires the system to respond to users within about five
seconds. It should support logical and statistical processing
of results without the user having to program in a 4GL. It
should implement all the security requirements for
confidentiality and concurrent update locking. The system
must provide a multidimensional conceptual view of the data,
including full support for multiple hierarchies. Other
aspects to consider include data duplication, RAM and disk
space requirements, performance, and integration with datawarehouses.