# Vector queries

The order of the objects in the bag returned by a regular select query is not predetermined unless an order by clause is specified. However, even if order by is specified the system will not preserve the order of the result of a select query if it is used in other operations.

If it is required to maintain the order of a set of data values the data type Vector has to be used. The collection data type Vector represents ordered collections of any kinds of objects; the simplest and most common case of a vector is a numerical vector of numbers. In case the order of a query result is significant you can specify vector queries that preserve the order in a query result by returning vectors rather than the bags returned by regular select queries. This is particularly important when working with numerical vectors. A vector query can be one of the following:

1. It can be a vector construction expression that creates a new vector from other objects.

2. It can be a vector indexing expression that accesses vector elements by their indexes.

3. It can be a regular select query returning a set of constructed vectors.

4. It can be a select vector query that returns an ordered vector rather than an unordered bag as the regular select query.

5. It can be a call to some vector function returning vectors as result.

## Vector construction​

The vector constructor [...] notation creates a single vector with explicit contents. The following query constructs a vector of three numbers:

[1,sqrt(4),3]

The returned vector is

[1, 2.0, 3]

The following query constructs a bag of vectors holding the persons named Bill together with their ages:

   select [p,age(p)]     from Person p    where name(p)="Bill"

The above query is different from the following query that returns a bag of tuples::

   select p, age(p)     from Person p    where name(p)="Bill"

## The select vector statement​

A select vector query provides a powerful way to construct new vectors by queries. It has the same syntax as a select query except for the keywords Vector of following the select clause. The difference is that whereas a select query returns a bag of objects, a select vector query returns a vector of objects.

Example:

    select Vector of i*2      from Integer i     where i = [1,2,3]     order by i

The query returns the vector [2,4,6].

Notice that the order by clause normally should be present when constructing vectors with a select vector query in order to exactly specify the order of the elements in the vector. If no order by clause is present the order of the elements in the vector is arbitrarily chosen by the system based on the query, which is the order that is the most efficient to produce.

The built-in function range() is very useful when constructing vectors. It has the signature:

   range(Number x, Number y) -> Bag of Integer

range(l,u) returns the set of all integer i where l <= i <= u.

Example:

   range(2,4)

returns the bag:

   2   3   4

Example:

    select vector of i      from Number i     where i in range(-4,5)     order by i

returns the vector [-4,-3,-2,-1,0,1,2,3,4,5]

Vector functions and operators can be used in queries.

Example:

   select lambda     from Number lambda    where [1, 2] - lambda = [11, 12]

returns -10.

If the equation has no solution, the query will have no result:

   select lambda     from Number lambda    where [1, 3] - lambda = [11, 12]

By contrast, note that this query:

   select lambda     from Vector of Number lambda    where [1, 2] - lambda = [11, 12]

returns [-10,-10].

## Accessing vector elements​

Vector elements can be accessed using the [..] syntax. The first element in a vector has index 1.

Example:

   select a + a     from Vector of Number a    where a = [1,2,3]

returns 3.

Index variables as numbers can be used in queries to specify iteration over all possibles index positions of a vector.

Example:

   select vector of a[i]      from Vector a, Integer i     where a[i] != 2       and a = [1,2,3]     order by i

returns the vector [1,3]. The query should be read as "Make a vector v of all vector elements ai in a where ai != 2 and order the elements in v on i."

The following query multiplies the elements of the vectors bound to the session variables :u and :v:

   select vector of :u[i] * :v[i]      from Integer i     order by i