functional dependency

(database)   Given a relation R (in a relational database), attribute Y of R is functionally dependent on attribute X of R and X of R functionally determines Y of R (in symbols R.X -> R.Y) if and only if each X in R has associated with it precisely one Y in R (at any one time). Attributes X and Y may be composite.

This is very close to a function in the mathematical sense.

Last updated: 1997-09-01