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Aggregates (Set Functions)

Aggregates (Set Functions)

This section describes aggregates (also described as set functions in ANSI SQL-92 and as column functions in some database literature). They provide a means of evaluating an expression over a set of rows. Whereas the other built-in functions operate on a single expression, aggregates operate on a set of values and reduce them to a single scalar value. Built-in aggregates can calculate the minimum, maximum, sum, count, and average of an expression over a set of values as well as count rows. You can also create your own aggregates to perform other set functions such as calculating the standard deviation.

The built-in aggregates can operate on the data types shown in Table 2.

Table 2. Permitted Data Types for Built-in Aggregates

All TypesNumeric Built-in Data Types

Aggregates are permitted only in the following:

  • A SelectItem in a SelectExpression.
  • A HAVING clause.
  • An ORDER BY clause (using an alias name) if the aggregate appears in the result of the relevant query block. That is, an alias for an aggregate is permitted in an ORDER BY clause if and only if the aggregate appears in a SelectItem in a SelectExpression.

All expressions in SelectItems in the SelectExpression must be either aggregates or grouped columns (see GROUP BY clause). (The same is true if there is a HAVING clause without a GROUP BY clause.) This is because the ResultSet of a SelectExpression must be either a scalar (single value) or a vector (multiple values), but not a mixture of both. (Aggregates evaluate to a scalar value, and the reference to a column can evaluate to a vector.) For example, the following query mixes scalar and vector values and thus is not valid:

-- not valid 
SELECT MIN(flying_time), flight_id
FROM Flights

Aggregates are not allowed on outer references (correlations). This means that if a subquery contains an aggregate, that aggregate cannot evaluate an expression that includes a reference to a column in the outer query block. For example, the following query is not valid because SUM operates on a column from the outer query:

    (SELECT t2.x
    FROM t2
    WHERE t2.y = SUM(t1.c3)) 

A cursor declared on a ResultSet that includes an aggregate in the outer query block is not updatable.

This section includes the following aggregates:

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