Physical Database Design is not easy to learn without doing, and thankfully we have weekly labs to put into practice the concepts we gnaw on in lecture. Sometimes I feel like that’s all I can do to understand Databases, just gnaw on it until I write a reasonable statement.
Our class works hard to complete assignments during the labs so we don’t have to do them as homework, but that makes me wonder if we are really learning at all. Databases are exciting, if you like organizing data. Databases are boring, if you only care about finishing a lab. I’m still undecided, but I have found comparisons and parallels to the human brain, and recognizing the beauty of that makes me excited about learning more about databases.
Databases are boring and hard to use because you are looking at chunky graphs and dealing with SQL statements. Yet, I like imagining what it would be like to have a database like brain, or a database that acted like a brain. The current Oracle database is so static it stands as a monolith to the jungle of the brain. Rich with errors and inaccuracies, the brain could only scratch the surface of the sheer scope of pedantic information a database is able to hold. Conversely, the database is simply a stupid machine you have to fiddle with to get the expected results, not intuitive, but not overly complicated to understand.
Yet, they are able to produce so much information, and act as powerful tools in the hands or skulls of an adept craftsman. The speed at which the brain is able to access and process information is staggering, and the volume and the time to sort, select, and CRUD all of the information in a database is mind boggling. It’s working in millions without breaking a sweat.
The brain is able to rewire to process information quickly. The database is not able to rewire, but will not forget. The brain can hold emotions, images, scents, and memories. The database could hold every cultural artifact of mankind. If I could quote Shakespeare, consider the change in population of major cities, and listen to every piece of music ever created without having to think twice I would be a super hero.
If I could have any future-power it might just be database brain.