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A multi-dimensional data set is sparse if a relatively high percentage of the possible combinations (intersections) of the members from the data set's dimensions contain missing data. The total possible number of intersections can be computed by multiplying together the number of members in each dimension. Data sets containing one percent, .01 percent, or even smaller percentages of the possible data exist and are quite common.

Related Terms: Dense

from OLAP Glossary, 1995

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