In data applications such as information integration, there can be limited access patterns to relations, i.e., binding patterns require values to be specified for certain attributes in order to retrieve data from a relation. As a consequence, we cannot retrieve all tuples from these relations. In this article we study the problem of computing the complete answer to a query, i.e., the answer that could be computed if all the tuples could be retrieved. A query is stable if for any instance of the relations in the query, its complete answer can be computed using the access patterns permitted by the relations. We study the problem of testing stability of various classes of queries, including conjunctive queries, unions of conjunctive queries, and conjunctive queries with arithmetic comparisons. We give algorithms and complexity results for these classes of queries. We show that stability of datalog programs is undecidable, and give a sufficient condition for stability of datalog queries. Finally, we study data-dependent computability of the complete answer to a nonstable query, and propose a decision tree for guiding the process to compute the complete answer.
The VLDB Journal – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 1, 2003
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