Sparsity and Density

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What Does Sparsity and Density Mean?

Sparsity and density is a database concept that defines the number of empty, or sparse, cells and those that are full, or dense. The concept is used in multidimensional database (MDB) architectures to identify the average number of cells that are sparse or unutilized.

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Techopedia Explains Sparsity and Density

Sparsity and density is used to improve database and data processing performance. Sparse cells can be any cell with zero or an empty cell value, while dense cells can include any non-zero value.

A processor must go through all database cells to find and process data. The number of sparse cells is directly proportional to the amount of a processor’s "useless" processing. Database administrators use sparsity and density to evaluate and eliminate sparse cells and improve database efficiency.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.