Departmental Papers (CIS)

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Conference Paper


Green, T., Ives, Z., & Tannen, V., Reconciling Differences, Theory of Computing Systems, 2011, doi: 10.1007/s00224-011-9323-x

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In this paper we study a problem motivated by the management of changes in databases. It turns out that several such change scenarios, e.g., the separately studied problems of view maintenance (propagation of data changes) and view adaptation (propagation of view definition changes) can be unified as instances of query reformulation using views provided that support for the relational difference operator exists in the context of query reformulation. Exact query reformulation using views in positive relational languages is well understood, and has a variety of applications in query optimization and data sharing. Unfortunately, most questions about queries become undecidable in the presence of difference (or negation), whether we use the foundational set semantics or the more practical bag semantics. We present a new way of managing this difficulty by defining a novel semantics, Z- relations, where tuples are annotated with positive or negative integers. Z-relations conveniently represent data, insertions, and deletions in a uniform way, and can apply deletions with the union operator (deletions are tuples with negative counts). We show that under Z-semantics relational algebra (R A) queries have a normal form consisting of a single difference of positive queries, and this leads to the decidability of their equivalence.We provide a sound and complete algorithm for reformulating R A queries, including queries with difference, over Z-relations. Additionally, we show how to support standard view maintenance



Date Posted: 20 July 2012