Integration of Heterogeneous Databases: Discovery of Meta-Information and Maintenance of Schema-Restructuring Views

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Koeller, Andreas
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
schema restructuring; schema changes; meta-data discovery; data mining; data integration; Database management; Computer algorithms; Data mining
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In today's networked world, information is widely distributed across many independent databases in heterogeneous formats. Integrating such information is a difficult task and has been adressed by several projects. However, previous integration solutions, such as the EVE-Project, have several shortcomings. Database contents and structure change frequently, and users often have incomplete information about the data content and structure of the databases they use. When information from several such insufficiently described sources is to be extracted and integrated, two problems have to be solved: How can we discover the structure and contents of and interrelationships among unknown databases, and how can we provide durable integration views over several such databases? In this dissertation, we have developed solutions for those key problems in information integration. The first part of the dissertation addresses the fact that knowledge about the interrelationships between databases is essential for any attempt at solving the information integration problem. We are presenting an algorithm called FIND2 based on the clique-finding problem in graphs and k-uniform hypergraphs to discover redundancy relationships between two relations. Furthermore, the algorithm is enhanced by heuristics that significantly reduce the search space when necessary. Extensive experimental studies on the algorithm both with and without heuristics illustrate its effectiveness on a variety of real-world data sets. The second part of the dissertation addresses the durable view problem and presents the first algorithm for incremental view maintenance in schema-restructuring views. Such views are essential for the integration of heterogeneous databases. They are typically defined in schema-restructuring query languages like SchemaSQL, which can transform schema into data and vice versa, making traditional view maintenance based on differential queries impossible. Based on an existing algebra for SchemaSQL, we present an update propagation algorithm that propagates updates along the query algebra tree and prove its correctness. We also propose optimizations on our algorithm and present experimental results showing its benefits over view recomputation.