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Find the missing number

Posted on 2011-03-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Being unexperienced in SQL, I have problem with this query:

This is my database table ("table_number"):

id      Number      Name                        
25      1      James
57      3      Doris
78      9      Dave
89      7      Chuck
126      2      Bertie
153      10      Marion
198      5      Veronica
234      6      Allen

If I order it by "Number" it will print:

id      Number      Name
                        
25      1      James
126      2      Bertie
57      3      Doris
198      5      Veronica
234      6      Allen
89      7      Chuck
78      9      Dave
153      10      Marion

Looking at he "Number" series, there are two numbers missing; 4 and 8. I want, in the first place, to find the lowest of the two, i e number 4 in this example.

I have tried to make a query like $SQL = "SELECT * FROM table_numbers WHERE ..." but I don't know how to continue. Please, Gurus of SQL, help me out. If it isn't to much to ask, please comment or explain briefly on the query you suggest. Thanks.
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Question by:lericson
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7 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Aaron Tomosky
Comment Utility
Does it always start at 1? If there is no 1 is that considered a missing number?
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Expert Comment

by:sjklein42
Comment Utility
This is an interesting question.  Here is an extended discussion along with several proposed solutions, none of which are perfect:

http://www.xaprb.com/blog/2005/12/06/find-missing-numbers-in-a-sequence-with-sql/

Do not feel bad.  Even the SQL gurus are stumped by this one.
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Expert Comment

by:Aaron Tomosky
Comment Utility
Therefore I'm trying to define this a little better. For example If what we are really doing is looking for the lowest missing integer starting at 1, that's much easier than looking for a gap in a generic sequence. By adding a rowcount column or a not in (create integer list here) it can be solved much simpler.
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Sharath
Comment Utility
try this/
SELECT MIN(rownum) min_Missing_Number 
  FROM (  SELECT id, 
                 Number, 
                 Name, 
                 @rownum := @rownum + 1 AS rownum 
            FROM table_number, 
                 (SELECT @rownum := 0) r 
        ORDER BY Number) t1 
 WHERE Number <> rownum;

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Expert Comment

by:sjklein42
Comment Utility
Here are a couple of people who think they found good solutions to this query:

http://bytes.com/topic/sql-server/answers/511668-query-find-missing-number

select (a.col1 + 1)
from tab1 a
where not exists
(select 1
from tab1 b
where b.col1 = (a.col1 + 1))
and a.col1 not in
(select max(c.col1)
from tab1 c)
order by 1

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Accepted Solution

by:
Sharath earned 500 total points
Comment Utility
Tested on your sample.
select * from table_number;
+------+--------+----------+
| id   | Number | Name     |
+------+--------+----------+
|   25 |      1 | James    |
|   57 |      3 | Doris    |
|   78 |      9 | Dave     |
|   89 |      7 | Chuck    |
|  126 |      2 | Bertie   |
|  153 |     10 | Marion   |
|  198 |      5 | Veronica |
|  234 |      6 | Allen    |
+------+--------+----------+
8 rows in set (0.00 sec)

SELECT MIN(rownum) min_Missing_Number 
  FROM (  SELECT id, 
                 Number, 
                 Name, 
                 @rownum := @rownum + 1 AS rownum 
            FROM table_number, 
                 (SELECT @rownum := 0) r 
        ORDER BY Number) t1 
 WHERE Number <> rownum;
+--------------------+
| min_Missing_Number |
+--------------------+
|                  4 |
+--------------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

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Author Closing Comment

by:lericson
Comment Utility
Superb. Thanks.
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