# Re: [PERFORM] tricky query

```John A Meinel wrote:

```
`Merlin Moncure wrote:`
```
```
```I need a fast way (sql only preferred) to solve the following problem:

I need the smallest integer that is greater than zero that is not in the
column of a table.  In other words, if an 'id' column has values
1,2,3,4,6 and 7, I need a query that returns the value of 5.

I've already worked out a query using generate_series (not scalable) and
pl/pgsql.  An SQL only solution would be preferred, am I missing
something obvious?

Merlin

```
```
Not so bad. Try something like this:

SELECT min(id+1) as id_new FROM table
WHERE (id+1) NOT IN (SELECT id FROM table);

Now, this requires probably a sequential scan, but I'm not sure how you
can get around that.
Maybe if you got trickier and did some ordering and limits. The above
seems to give the right answer, though.

I don't know how big you want to scale to.

You might try something like:
SELECT id+1 as id_new FROM t
WHERE (id+1) NOT IN (SELECT id FROM t)
ORDER BY id LIMIT 1;

John
=:->
```
```
Well, I was able to improve it to using appropriate index scans.
Here is the query:

SELECT t1.id+1 as id_new FROM id_test t1
WHERE NOT EXISTS
(SELECT t2.id FROM id_test t2 WHERE t2.id = t1.id+1)
ORDER BY t1.id LIMIT 1;

I created a test table which has 90k randomly inserted rows. And this is
what EXPLAIN ANALYZE says:

QUERY PLAN

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Limit  (cost=0.00..12.10 rows=1 width=4) (actual time=0.000..0.000 rows=1
loops=1)
->  Index Scan using id_test_pkey on id_test t1  (cost=0.00..544423.27
rows=45000 width=4) (actual time=0.000..0.000 rows=1 loops=1)
Filter: (NOT (subplan))
SubPlan
->  Index Scan using id_test_pkey on id_test t2  (cost=0.00..6.01
rows=1 width=4) (actual time=0.000..0.000 rows=1 loops=15)
Index Cond: (id = (\$0 + 1))
Total runtime: 0.000 ms
(7 rows)

The only thing I have is a primary key index on id_test(id);

John
=:->

```

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