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Understanding the unique_subquery optimization

If you use the EXPLAIN SELECT statement to see how your subqueries are treated by MySQL, you may sometimes meet the "unique_subquery" optimization. Here is how the manual describes it:
"unique_subquery: this type replaces ref for some IN subqueries of the following form: value IN (SELECT primary_key FROM single_table WHERE some_expr); unique_subquery is just an index lookup function that replaces the subquery completely for better efficiency".Few weeks ago, while I was reviewing a patch fixing a bug in unique_subquery, I got a "simplification" pulsion. I told myself that:

  •  unique_subquery is an optimization for a special case of simple subqueries (single inner …
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