### The umbilical cord of finite model theory

#### Abstract

Model theory was born and developed as a part of mathematical logic. It has

various application domains but is not beholden to any of them. A priori, the research

area known as finite model theory would be just a part of model theory but didn’t turn

out that way. There is one application domain — relational database management —

that finite model theory had been beholden to during a substantial early period when

databases provided the motivation and were the main application target for finite model

theory.

Arguably, finite model theory was motivated even more by complexity theory. But

the subject of this paper is how relational database theory influenced finite model theory.

This is NOT a scholarly history of the subject with proper credits to all participants.

My original intent was to cover just the developments that I witnessed or participated

in. The need to make the story coherent forced me to cover some additional developments.

various application domains but is not beholden to any of them. A priori, the research

area known as finite model theory would be just a part of model theory but didn’t turn

out that way. There is one application domain — relational database management —

that finite model theory had been beholden to during a substantial early period when

databases provided the motivation and were the main application target for finite model

theory.

Arguably, finite model theory was motivated even more by complexity theory. But

the subject of this paper is how relational database theory influenced finite model theory.

This is NOT a scholarly history of the subject with proper credits to all participants.

My original intent was to cover just the developments that I witnessed or participated

in. The need to make the story coherent forced me to cover some additional developments.

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