In many decision-making scenarios, decision makers require rapid feedback to their queries, which typically involve aggregates. The traditional blocking execution model can no longer meet the demands of these users. One promising approach in the literature, called online aggregation, evaluates an aggregation query progressively as follows: as soon as certain data have been evaluated, approximate answers are produced with their respective running confidence intervals; as more data are examined, the answers and their corresponding running confidence intervals are refined. In this paper, we extend this approach to handle nested queries with aggregates (i.e., at least one inner query block is an aggregate query) by providing users with (approximate) answers progressively as the inner aggregation query blocks are evaluated. We address the new issues pose by nested queries. In particular, the answer space begins with a superset of the final answers and is refined as the aggregates from the inner query blocks are refined. For the intermediary answers to be meaningful, they have to be interpreted with the aggregates from the inner queries. We also propose a multi-threaded model in evaluating such queries: each query block is assigned to a thread, and the threads can be evaluated concurrently and independently. The time slice across the threads is nondeterministic in the sense that the user controls the relative rate at which these subqueries are being evaluated. For enumerative nested queries, we propose a priority-based evaluation strategy to present answers that are certainly in the final answer space first, before presenting those whose validity may be affected as the inner query aggregates are refined. We implemented a prototype system using Java and evaluated our system. Results for nested queries with a level and multiple levels of nesting are reported. Our results show the effectiveness of the proposed mechanisms in providing progressive feedback that reduces the initial waiting time of users significantly without sacrificing the quality of the answers.
The VLDB Journal – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2000
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