VISIT REPORT L Burnard

ICL Bracknell

BCS/CODASYL DBAWG

On 18-19 November 82

This meeting was similar in style and content, if not in surroundings, to the one I attended in the Highlands two months ago, except that there were three or four faces new to me present. On day 1 I applied for and was granted official membership of the Group as Oxford's representative. Reports of liason with other groups of similar interests followed, in particular a Pascal working party which has expressed interest in the continuing work of standardisation of what ANSI now wish us to call dbcs. Another interesting indicator of future trends was the DBAWG's agreement that its distributed DB architecture was not predicated on an exclusively Codasyl (or indeed ANSI) architecture. As before the real work of the group continued in its two subgroups and I stayed with the 'Access Control' subgroup. After having at our last meeting failed to agree on a definition of 'action' within an information system, we spent most of this one failing to a.gree on what a 'rule1 was anyway. On day 1, it had a rather hierarchic element (of, Asimov's laws of robotics); but on day 2 this was discredited in favour of the view that it was just a boolean expression 'action X is permitted to role Y if (arbitrarily_complex_expression) ' A discussion about 'rights' and 'revoking' of rights led to the assertion that rules could also be the subjects of (meta) rules and indeed attempts to define meta-meta-rules (which define what happens when the meta-rules defining which rules currently apply are changed). It was also agreed that the subgroup needed a dictatorial chair person, which role I was reluctantly coerced into.