How Many Parameters can Rank() Take?

Laurent Schneider and I were discussing the analytics chapter of his nearly finished book, when he casualy mentioned that Rank() can take unlimited number of parameters. “Wow!” I said, “Thats cool. But how many parameters can it take before something crashes?”

I checked on my test 11g system, running on a puny windows xp.

Starting with 80 parameters, everything works fine:

SQL> select
2    rank(
3  1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
4    ) within group (order by
5  1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
6  ) x
7  from dual
8  /


160 parameters also worked fine, 240 worked fine, returns results within two seconds.

So I tried with 320.  It has been running for almost 15 minutes when I decided to check with 310 and 300. At that point Oracle took 100% cpu and my mouse could barely move. I had to crash Oracle. You could say that three processes each with slightly over 300 parameters crashes Oracle:)

I continued donating my CPU to scientific discovery and reached interesting results:

At 255 parameters Rank still works fine. At 256, Oracle seems to go into an infinite loop – it never returns an answer and CPU climbs to 100%. Suspicious numbers, I’d say.

5 Comments on “How Many Parameters can Rank() Take?”

  1. starprogrammer says:

    A logically sound system should’ve climbed to 0x100% cpu, i believe.

  2. Yes, the aggregate function RANK takes an unlimited number of arguments:) but the analytic function takes exactly zero arguments.

    Thanks for your research DDL

  3. Moshe Zadka says:

    So. Freakin. Awesome.

  4. 999

    With more than 999 you will get ORA-962

    (echo "set timi on";echo "select rank(";seq 1000|sed s/$/,/;echo "0) within group (order by ";seq 1000|sed s/$/,/;echo "0) from dual;")|sqlplus -s scott/tiger
    0) from dual
    ERROR at line 2003:
    ORA-00962: too many group-by / order-by expressions

    Elapsed: 00:00:00.01

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