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A Tupel is a mathematical definition of a so-called“ordered set of objects“. In computer science, Tupel is used, for example, to implement queries in relational databases.

Tupel n and sets in comparison

Basically, Tupeln, like sets, is a collection of objects grouped under a generic term. The main distinguishing feature between Tupeln and sets is reflected in the fact that objects in Tupeln have an internal order, whereas sets are unordered. Tupel n can also be as the objects grouped in a set – just as sets can be grouped under a generic term in the form of a Tupels . Tupel are characterized by an order, which is why the individual elements can be addressed directly and their value can be explicitly assigned to an attribute. Tupel are usually represented by an opening and closing round bracket, in the frame of which the individual objects are noted. The individual elements are separated by commas, which allows the fixed order of the objects to be represented.

Application of Tupeln in computer science

In the field of computer science, Tupel are used to implement ordered lists. They help to define elements in an array and to define queries or entries in relational databases. Here, too, each element has a fixed, explicitly assigned place. This explicit allocation of space is important in order to be able to uniquely assign the individual data fields to the corresponding attributes. Typical for such a use of Tupeln is that the data fields must have a so-called “atomic content”. In concrete terms, this means that no elements are permitted that can be broken down into further individual parts.

Besides its use in databases, there are other application scenarios of Tupeln in computer science. In modern scripting and programming languages, they are implemented as an integrated data type, such as:

Especially in this context, it is significant not to confuse Tupeln with sets, since these two types behave differently. While the order of the individual elements is formative, it is irrelevant for sets.

Complex data structures are based on Tupeln

The main reason for using Tupeln in computer science is the internal ordering already mentioned in the paragraph above. This allows complex data sets to be mapped and summarized. Assigning a fixed location makes it possible for data to be read and viewed individually at any time. In most modern programming languages, complex variations of Tupeln can be defined to implement sophisticated data structures. The assignment of Tupeln to a variable makes it possible to view and manipulate this collection of elements as a whole.

The use of Tupeln as key-value pairs has proven particularly useful. In this form, they occur as pairs with exactly two elements. The first element of the Tupels is called the key, while the second element represents the associated value. Such Tupel can be addressed directly by specifying the key value. By using the key, the second element (the actual value) is read.

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