The very basics
Infinite looping
Processing trees with recursive CTE
Processing graphs with recursive CTE


Great. Now that you got the basics, we will learn some real-world examples.

Let's say we have a company with a hierarchical structure, i.e. each employee has a superior (except for the boss). An employee has precisely one superior, but one superior may have multiple inferiors. An example structure may look as follows:


In computer science, we call such a structure a tree, where each node (employee) has a parent node (superior), except for the root (boss), which has no parent node.

How can we store these hierarchical relations in a database? It's quite simple: each employee is represented with a row that has a column superior_id with the id of their superior.


Take a look at our table.


Select all data from table employee.

As you can see, the table has the following columns:

  • id - idetifier of employee,
  • first_name - first name of employee,
  • last_name - last name of employee,
  • superior_id - identifier of person above employee.