The Brain Has The Same Problems That Databases Do

What can the human brain learn from how a database works There is a battle going on in every database and the same battle in every human brain. The battle is simply Memory vs. CPU (processing). We either rely on indexes to recall data or we count on the CPU to calculate the resulting data. Some basics regarding relational databases are not as complicated a concept as one might think. It’s quite basic, if you have a telephone book, you have a database (or a table). If you then have another book (like a medical record list from the hospital) you can relate the two. Why is that important? If you relate the two, you can determine if a certain area code in the phone book has more allergy-related illnesses.

Finding out that more people who live next to high-power lines in your phone book have some form of cancer. it’s the. We store color in one area and shape in another. Smells in one area and happy thoughts in another! The details are obviously still very sketchy, but you get the idea. A balance in the design of the tables that store the data in a database must be struck. The theory is that the human brain works in much the same way, the problem is Database Administrators and Developers alike constantly strive to increase the performance of the database. We, humans, do not make specific efforts to strike the same balance within the inner tables of our brain’s database.

Databases are Optimized in Many Ways

Large tables are broken down to store data in multiple related tables. Indexes are created and used to retrieve the vital links between these tables. An index is just that. You’ve seen an index in your local phone book. In the front, it tells you where in this massive book to find people in a certain city, or where to find businesses of certain types. Or where to find only those with a last name that starts with a Y. Databases do the same thing; internally the index is stored in memory for quick retrieval when a query for data retrieval is executed. Simply put, someone asked the database for data and the database used an index to help it find that information more quickly.

We have indexes in our brains just as the databases do. Case in point, I don’t know the words to a certain song (I mean I just don’t know them) until someone starts the song; then suddenly I can continue to sing every word, that person that started the song “Hit an index” in my brain. I don’t have to “Remember” the entire song, just the index. This means the entire song is not “In Memory” but rather “On Disk”. The index is in my memory and is readily available to me when needed. We all have indexes for many other items “On Disk” in our brains. Sometimes you lose the index, and the entire song is gone.

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