• Noel McKinney

    Hall of Fame

    Points: 3385

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item B-tree

  • David in .AU


    Points: 1784

    Although I got it correct, from the research I have done, no-one really knows what the B stands for.

    It is never clearly defined by anyone.

    One article I found has some some interesting tid bits of info about it 🙂


    "But in the paper that Mr. Bayer et al wrote introducing this structure, they never defined for us what the ‘B' stood for, so nobody knows for certain if it has a meaning."

    Bayer being one of the team who developed the B-tree.

    Of course, if anyone has later info from the team where they did indeed qualify what it means, please share 🙂


  • Kelsey Thornton


    Points: 2157

    Maybe that B *really* stands for "Bayer" 😉

    Kelsey Thornton

  • Warren Gilbert

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1358

    There are several references to the fact that the meaning of the 'B' in B-Tree is undefined, but since this site is 'Microsoft' SQL Server related, the following page makes it quite clear -


    ... B-Trees, where B stands for "balanced" (not "binary," as is sometimes thought)...

  • PostXript

    Right there with Babe

    Points: 719

    Even Wikipedia doesn't know:

    "Rudolf Bayer and Ed McCreight invented the B-tree while working at Boeing in 1971, but did not explain what, if anything, the B stands for. Douglas Comer suggests a number of possibilities:

    "Balanced," "Broad," or "Bushy" might apply [since all leaves are at the same level]. Others suggest that the "B" stands for Boeing [since the authors worked at Boeing Scientific Research Labs in 1972]. Because of his contributions, however, it seems appropriate to think of B-trees as "Bayer"-trees."


  • Rob Goddard


    Points: 2572

    PostXript (9/30/2009)

    Even Wikipedia doesn't know

    Good job I was sitting down, or I might have fallen down! 😛

    [font="Tahoma"]I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. -Douglas Adams[/font]

  • LostAccount

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4951

    Interesting that this somewhat obscure article states a "fact" that is different than the "facts" in dozens of other articles on the subject which state that it is unknown.

  • Manie Verster


    Points: 7022

    I just said to myself that I don't think a B-Tree is a Binary tree rather a Balanced tree but then I searched it on Google and saw in big bold letters B-Tree,Binary Tree and without further a-do I answered Binary Tree. When I got the You're wrong! message I thought bugger I want to check that website. It said in bold letters as I said above and if I would have read further I would have seen B-Tree is not a Binary Tree! I could kick myself. So, L's and G's, READ! is the lesson to learn hear!:w00t::w00t::w00t::w00t::w00t::w00t:

    :-PManie Verster
    South Africa

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. - Holy Bible
    I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times. - Everett Mckinley Dirkson (Well, I am trying. - Manie Verster)

  • Fatal Exception Error

    SSChasing Mays

    Points: 609

    When I see B-tree I think binary search tree unless its an MS thing. In this case I know its not what I think cause MS always has to be different.

    Someone correct me if I am wrong but I thought binary search trees were self balancing to some extent.

  • sjimmo


    Points: 11139

    :crazy: My problem with the answer is that everywhere you read about B-tree, that I have found, does not use the term balanced. There are many articles/diagrams explaining B-Tree indexes, and numerous ones infer Binary but do not specifically say this.

    The next issue I have is that if you were to google Binary Index Tree, the explanations/Diagrams are identical.

    I believe that this is a great question for conversations, debates and many articles about. But based upon the chosen answer as being the correct one leads me to believe that there was interpretation on the writer's part which in this case goes against the interpretation of many others.

    Steve Jimmo
    Sr DBA
    “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

  • abinder-1080408

    SSC Rookie

    Points: 43

    If I had asked a question like this of my students in college, they would have stoned me.

    Wikipedia says not to confuse it with a binary tree but goes on to say that it is a generalized form of a binary tree search. Searchsqlserver.techtarget.com says, "A B-tree is a method of placing and locating files (called records or keys) in a database. (The meaning of the letter B has not been explicitly defined.) The B-tree algorithm minimizes the number of times a medium must be accessed to locate a desired record, thereby speeding up the process."

    Someone replied that since this is an MS SQL forum that MS should be the deciding authority. If MS said that the B in VB stoof for "balance" does that make it so?

  • cengland0


    Points: 6102

    Warren Gilbert (9/30/2009)

    There are several references to the fact that the meaning of the 'B' in B-Tree is undefined, but since this site is 'Microsoft' SQL Server related, the following page makes it quite clear -


    ... B-Trees, where B stands for "balanced" (not "binary," as is sometimes thought)...

    You cannot trust what Microsoft says about what the "B" stands for because they didn't coin the term. I thought it was Binary because Wikipedia says that it's a binary search tree. Binary seems a more logical explanation of what the B stands for instead of Balanced.


  • BudaCli

    Hall of Fame

    Points: 3383

    I'll call this a thriller...Nice one!!!

    What you don't know won't hurt you but what you know will make you plan to know better
  • Jeff Welcome-130556


    Points: 1544

    Don't pick binary

    Don't pick binary

    Don't pick binary




    ACK! Picked binary

  • Matt Marston


    Points: 2413

    A B-tree could only be confused with a binary tree if it is binary with each node having at most 2 children. Wikipedia states this clearly, "a binary tree is a tree data structure in which each node has at most two children." The SQL Server documentation that references B-tree doesn't clearly state how many children a node can have, but I can tell you it is more than 2.

    The Wikipedia reference to a B-tree as a generalized form of a binary tree is accurate. But it doesn't mean that a B-tree is a binary tree any more than saying a polygon is a generalized form of a rectangle means that a polygon is a rectangle.

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