5. Queries in AiiDA: The QueryBuilder {#sec:querybuilder}

In this part of the tutorial we will focus on how to query our database using a querying tool for AiiDA called the QueryBuilder. Queries are, very loosely defined, questions to your database. We will first show you some simple examples and tasks on how to explore your database. Then we will proceed to a more concrete exercise on the screening of magnetic and metallic perovskites.\

5.1. Task 1 - Introduction to QueryBuilder

Node & subclasses

Number in DB













: List of some Node subclasses and how many times they occur in our test database.


In this task we will use the QueryBuilder to do some basic queries and understand our database. As a first step we should import our querying tool, the QueryBuilder.

from aiida.orm.querybuilder import QueryBuilder

After the above import, we create our first query. To do so, we will have to instantiate a QueryBuilder instance:

qb = QueryBuilder()

Our query is still empty, we have not yet defined what we want to see. For example, we will ask for all the nodes of our database. This is as simple as appending the Node class to the query that we construct.


At this point, we can finish our query by asking back all nodes and by typing

qb.all() # Returns all nodes in the database

However, this command will return us all the Nodes directly, which may not be the most wise thing to do considering that is the biggest family of AiiDA stored objects that we can query. To understand the size of the result, we can type the following command:

qb.count() # Returns an integer, the number of nodes in the database

If you are interested to retrieve a subclass of a node, append that specific subclass instead of Node:

CifData = DataFactory('cif')
qb = QueryBuilder() # Creating a new QueryBuilder instance
qb.append(CifData) # Telling the QueryBuilder instance that I want a cif data type
qb.all() # Asking for all the results!


  • Try now to find the number of instances for some subclasses of Node (e.g. StructureData, ParameterData, etc.) that are stored in your database. The result should look like . Of course, the numbers can be different!

Comment: If you are familiar with the SQL (Structured Query Language) syntax then you may wonder what the issued SQL command is. This can be easily seen by typing:


Comment: If you want to get inspired by the available QueryBuilder options you can just press the tab key in an interactive shell (after typing qb.) to see the available options.

Comment: After you run a query, a new QueryBuilder instance needs to be defined if you want to make a new query.

5.2. Task 2 - Projections and filters









{‘in’:[‘FINISHED’, ‘PARSING’]}


floats, integers, dates









{‘or’:[{‘<’:5.3}, {‘>’:6.3}]}


{‘and’:[{‘>’:5.3}, {‘<’:6.3}]}

: Operators currently implemented for all backends.


In database language performing a projection means to extract one or more specific columns from a table. In the AiiDA language this is equivalent to say that we select what properties a query should return out of the queried objects. For example, we might be interested only in the id of a set of nodes (or their creation date, or any stored value). To this purpose we should suitably instruct a QueryBuilder object by means of the “project” key. For example, if we would like to get all the ids of the nodes, we would type the following:

qb = QueryBuilder() qb.append(Node, project=["id"]) qb.all()

|———| ————————-|




id, uuid, type, label, description, ctime, mtime


id, uuid, name, hostname, description, enabled, transport_type, scheduler_type


id, email, first_name, last_name, institution


id, uuid, name, type, time, description



: A selection of entities and some of their properties.


Please note that if you would like to perform an operation on the pk of a node, you should use the keyword id in QueryBuilder queries.

Most likely, performing a query implies to select only those elements that fulfill certain criteria. For example, we might want to select all the calculations that were launched on a specific date. In database language, this is called “adding a filter” to a query. A filter is a boolean operator that returns True or False. lists all operators that we implemented. A selection of entities and some of their properties that you can use at your projections and filters can be found at table .

If you want to add filters to your query, you simply add the filters keyword with a dictionary. Suppose you want to know the creation date of a structure of which you know the uuid:

qb = QueryBuilder() # Instantiating a new QueryBuilder
qb.append(CifData, # I want structures!
  project=["ctime"], # I'm interested in creation time!
  filters={"uuid": {"==":"b84e8d4c-908b-45b4-8015-3ace540f7dd6"}}
)  # I want the structure with this UUID

Try it out! There is also the possibility to combine multiple filters on the same object using the “and” or the “or” keyword in the filter section. Let’s see an example.

from datetime import datetime, timedelta
qb = QueryBuilder()
  project=["uuid"],   # I want to see only the UUID
  filters={ "or":[    # First filter is an or statement
            { "ctime": {">":datetime.now() - timedelta(days=12) }},
            { "label": "Raspa test" }

In the above example we added an “or” keyword between the two filters. The query return every structure in the database that was created in the last 12 days or is named “graphene”.

Hints for the exercises:

  • The operator ‘>’, ‘<’ works with date-type properties with the expected behavior.

  • For your date comparisons you will need to create a datetime object to which you can assign a date of your preference. You will have to do the necessary import (from datetime import datetime) and create an object by giving a specific date. E.g. datetime(2015, 12, 26). For further information, you can consult the Python’s online documentation.


  • Write a query that returns all instances of StructureData that have been created after the 1st of January 2016.

  • Write a query that returns all instances of Group whose name starts with “tutorial”.