A formal approach to finding explanations for database queries


Conference Paper

As a consequence of the popularity of big data, many users with a variety of backgrounds seek to extract high level information from datasets collected from various sources and combined using data integration techniques. A major challenge for research in data management is to develop tools to assist users in explaining observed query outputs. In this paper we introduce a principled approach to provide explanations for answers to SQL queries based on intervention: removal of tuples from the database that significantly affect the query answers. We provide a formal definition of intervention in the presence of multiple relations which can interact with each other through foreign keys. First we give a set of recursive rules to compute the intervention for any given explanation in polynomial time (data complexity). Then we give simple and efficient algorithms based on SQL queries that can compute the top-K explanations by using standard database management systems under certain conditions. We evaluate the quality and performance of our approach by experiments on real datasets.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Roy, S; Suciu, D

Published Date

  • January 1, 2014

Published In

Start / End Page

  • 1579 - 1590

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0730-8078

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9781450323765

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1145/2588555.2588578

Citation Source

  • Scopus