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Window functions (OVER clause)

Window or windowing functions perform a calculation over a set of rows that are related to the current row (the "window").

The "window" is defined by the OVER clause, which generally consists of three parts:

  • Window partitioning (the PARTITION BY clause): Specifies how to partition rows into smaller sets.
  • Window ordering (the ORDER BY clause): Specifies how the rows are ordered. This part is required for ranking functions.
  • Window frame (the ROWS or RANGE clause): Specifies a particular row or the range of the rows over which calculations are performed.

If your goal is to generate calculation results strictly as append-only output when a window closes, you can utilize the emit-on-window-close policy. This approach helps avoid unnecessary computations. For more information on the emit-on-window-close policy, please refer to Emit on window close.


window_function ( [expression [, expression ... ]] ) OVER 
( PARTITION BY partition_expression
[ ORDER BY sort_expression [ ASC | DESC ] [ NULLS { FIRST | LAST } ] [, ...] ]

Currently, the PARTITION BY clause is required. If you do not want to partition the rows into smaller sets, you can work around by specifying PARTITION BY 1::int.

For ranking window functions like row_number and rank, ORDER BY clause is required.

When operating in the emit-on-window-close mode for a streaming query, ORDER BY clause is required for each window function. Please ensure that you specify only one column to order by. This column, generally a timestamp column, must have a watermark defined for it. It's important to note that when using the timestamp column from this streaming query in another streaming query, the watermark information associated with the column is not retained.

window_function can be one of the following:

The syntax of frame_clause is:

{ ROWS | RANGE } frame_start [ frame_exclusion ]
{ ROWS | RANGE } BETWEEN frame_start AND frame_end [ frame_exclusion ]

frame_start and frame_end can be:


If only frame_start is specified, CURRENT ROW will be used as the end of the window.

The meaning of offset varies in different modes: in ROWS mode, the offset is a positive integer indicating the number of rows before or after the current row, while RANGE mode requires the ORDER BY clause to specify one column, and the data type of the offset expression is determined by the data type of the ordering column.

frame_exclusion can be either of these:


In RisingWave, frame_clause is optional. Depending on whether the ORDER BY clause is present, the default value is different. When the ORDER BY clause is present, the default value is ROWS UNBOUNDED PRECEDING AND CURRENT ROW. When the ORDER BY clause is not present, the default value is ROWS UNBOUNDED PRECEDING AND UNBOUNDED FOLLOWING. This is different from the behavior in PostgreSQL. We may align the default frame with PostgreSQL in the future.

General-purpose window functions


The row_number() function assigns a unique sequential integer to each row within a partition of a result set. The numbering starts at 1 for the first row in each partition and increments by 1 for each subsequent row.

row_number() can be used to turn non-unique rows into unique rows. This could be used to eliminate duplicate rows.

The syntax of row_number() is:


We recommend using row_number() only for top-N pattern queries. For details about this pattern, see Top-N by group.


rank() returns the rank of the current row, with gaps; that is, the row_number of the first row in its peer group.

The syntax of rank() is:



dense_rank() returns the rank of the current row, without gaps; that is, if some rows share the same rank, the row next to them is assigned the next consecutive rank.

The syntax of dense_rank() is:


lag() and lead()

lag() allows you to access the value of a previous row in the result set. You can specify the number of rows to look back.

The syntax of lag() is:

lag ( value anycompatible [, offset const integer] )anycompatible

lead() is similar to lag(), but it allows you to access the value of a subsequent row in the result set.

The syntax of lead() is:

lead ( value anycompatible [, offset const integer] )anycompatible

first_value() and last_value()

The first_value() function returns the value of the first row in the current window frame.

The syntax of first_value() is:

first_value ( value anyelement )anyelement

last_value() returns the value of the last row in the current window frame.

The syntax of last_value() is:

last_value ( value anyelement )anyelement

Aggregate window functions

The aggregate window functions include sum(), min(), max(), avg() and count() etc. For the complete list of aggregate functions and their usage, see Aggregate functions.

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