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Curated databases
 PODS'08
, 2008
"... Curated databases are databases that are populated and updated with a great deal of human effort. Most reference works that one traditionally found on the reference shelves of libraries – dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers etc. – are now curated databases. Since it is now easy to publish databa ..."
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Cited by 105 (12 self)
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Curated databases are databases that are populated and updated with a great deal of human effort. Most reference works that one traditionally found on the reference shelves of libraries – dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers etc. – are now curated databases. Since it is now easy to publish databases on the web, there has been an explosion in the number of new curated databases used in scientific research. The value of curated databases lies in the organization and the quality of the data they contain. Like the paper reference works they have replaced, they usually represent the efforts of a dedicated group of people to produce a definitive description of some subject area. Curated databases present a number of challenges for database research. The topics of annotation, provenance, and citation are central, because curated databases are heavily crossreferenced with, and include data from, other databases, and much of the work of a curator is annotating existing data. Evolution of structure is important because these databases often evolve from semistructured representations, and because they have to accommodate new scientific discoveries. Much of the work in these areas is in its infancy, but it is beginning to provide suggest new research for both theory and practice. We discuss some of this research and emphasize the need to find appropriate models of the processes associated with curated databases.
Inferring XML Schema Definitions from XML Data
, 2007
"... Although the presence of a schema enables many optimizations for operations on XML documents, recent studies have shown that many XML documents in practice either do not refer to a schema, or refer to a syntactically incorrect one. It is therefore of utmost importance to provide tools and techniques ..."
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Cited by 54 (9 self)
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Although the presence of a schema enables many optimizations for operations on XML documents, recent studies have shown that many XML documents in practice either do not refer to a schema, or refer to a syntactically incorrect one. It is therefore of utmost importance to provide tools and techniques that can automatically generate schemas from sets of sample documents. While previous work in this area has mostly focused on the inference of Document Type Definitions (DTDs for short), we will consider the inference of XML Schema Definitions (XSDs for short) – the increasingly popular schema formalism that is turning DTDs obsolete. In contrast to DTDs where the content model of an element depends only on the element’s name, the content model in an XSD can also depend on the context in which the element is used. Hence, while the inference of DTDs basically reduces to the inference of regular expressions from sets of sample strings, the inference of XSDs also entails identifying from a corpus of sample documents the contexts in which elements bear different content models. Since a seminal result by Gold implies that no inference algorithm can learn the complete class of XSDs from positive examples only, we focus on a class of XSDs that captures most XSDs occurring in practice. For this class, we provide a theoretically complete algorithm that always infers the correct XSD when a sufficiently large corpus of XML documents is available. In addition, we present a variant of this algorithm that works well on realworld (and therefore incomplete) data sets.
From dirt to shovels: Fully automatic tool generation from ad hoc data
 In POPL
, 2008
"... An ad hoc data source is any semistructured data source for which useful data analysis and transformation tools are not readily available. Such data must be queried, transformed and displayed by systems administrators, computational biologists, financial analysts and hosts of others on a regular bas ..."
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Cited by 46 (11 self)
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An ad hoc data source is any semistructured data source for which useful data analysis and transformation tools are not readily available. Such data must be queried, transformed and displayed by systems administrators, computational biologists, financial analysts and hosts of others on a regular basis. In this paper, we demonstrate that it is possible to generate a suite of useful data processing tools, including a semistructured query engine, several format converters, a statistical analyzer and data visualization routines directly from the ad hoc data itself, without any human intervention. The key technical contribution of the work is a multiphase algorithm that automatically infers the structure of an ad hoc data source and produces a format specification in the PADS data description language. Programmers wishing to implement custom data analysis tools can use such descriptions to generate printing and parsing libraries for the data. Alternatively, our software infrastructure will push these descriptions through the PADS compiler and automatically generate fully functional tools. We evaluate the performance of our inference algorithm, showing it scales linearly in the size of the training data — completing in seconds, as opposed to the hours or days it takes to write a description by hand. We also evaluate the correctness of the algorithm, demonstrating that generating accurate descriptions often requires less than 5 % of the available data. 1.
Learning Deterministic Regular Expressions for the Inference of Schemas from XML Data
, 2008
"... Inferring an appropriate DTD or XML Schema Definition (XSD) for a given collection of XML documents essentially reduces to learning deterministic regular expressions from sets of positive example words. Unfortunately, there is no algorithm capable of learning the complete class of deterministic regu ..."
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Cited by 39 (7 self)
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Inferring an appropriate DTD or XML Schema Definition (XSD) for a given collection of XML documents essentially reduces to learning deterministic regular expressions from sets of positive example words. Unfortunately, there is no algorithm capable of learning the complete class of deterministic regular expressions from positive examples only, as we will show. The regular expressions occurring in practical DTDs and XSDs, however, are such that every alphabet symbol occurs only a small number of times. As such, in practice it suffices to learn the subclass of regular expressions in which each alphabet symbol occurs at most k times, for some small k. We refer to such expressions as koccurrence regular expressions (kOREs for short). Motivated by this observation, we provide a probabilistic algorithm that learns kOREs for increasing values of k, and selects the one that best describes the sample based on a Minimum Description Length argument. The effectiveness of the method is empirically validated both on real world and synthetic data. Furthermore, the method is shown to be conservative over the simpler classes of expressions considered in previous work.
Optimizing schema languages for XML: Numerical constraints and interleaving
 ICDT
, 2007
"... The presence of a schema offers many advantages in processing, translating, querying, and storage of XML data. Basic decision problems like equivalence, inclusion, and nonemptiness of intersection of schemas form the basic building blocks for schema optimization and integration, and algorithms for ..."
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Cited by 29 (8 self)
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The presence of a schema offers many advantages in processing, translating, querying, and storage of XML data. Basic decision problems like equivalence, inclusion, and nonemptiness of intersection of schemas form the basic building blocks for schema optimization and integration, and algorithms for static analysis of transformations. It is thereby paramount to establish the exact complexity of these problems. Most common schema languages for XML can be adequately modeled by some kind of grammar with regular expressions at righthand sides. In this paper, we observe that apart from the usual regular operators of union, concatenation and Kleenestar, schema languages also allow numerical occurrence constraints and interleaving operators. Although the expressiveness of these operators remain within the regular languages, their presence or absence has significant impact on the complexity of the basic decision problems. We present a complete overview of the complexity of the basic decision problems for DTDs, XSDs and Relax NG with regular expressions incorporating numerical occurrence constraints and interleaving. We also discuss chain regular expressions and the complexity of the schema simplification problem incorporating the new operators.
Inference of Concise Regular Expressions and DTDs
"... We consider the problem of inferring a concise Document Type Definition (DTD) for a given set of XMLdocuments, a problem that basically reduces to learning concise regular expressions from positive examples strings. We identify two classes of concise regular expressions—the single occurrence regula ..."
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Cited by 25 (4 self)
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We consider the problem of inferring a concise Document Type Definition (DTD) for a given set of XMLdocuments, a problem that basically reduces to learning concise regular expressions from positive examples strings. We identify two classes of concise regular expressions—the single occurrence regular expressions (SOREs) and the chain regular expressions (CHAREs)—that capture the far majority of expressions used in practical DTDs. For the inference of SOREs we present several algorithms that first infer an automaton for a given set of example strings and then translate that automaton to a corresponding SORE, possibly repairing the automaton when no equivalent SORE can be found. In the process, we introduce a novel automaton to regular expression rewrite technique which is of independent interest. When only a very small amount of XML data is available, however (for instance when the data is generated by Web service requests or by answers to queries), these algorithms produce regular expressions that are too specific. Therefore, we introduce a novel learning algorithm CRX that directly infers CHAREs (which form a subclass of SOREs) without going through an automaton representation. We show that CRX performs very well within its target class on very small datasets. 11
SUCCINCTNESS OF THE COMPLEMENT AND INTERSECTION OF REGULAR EXPRESSIONS
, 2008
"... We study the succinctness of the complement and intersection of regular expressions. In particular, we show that when constructing a regular expression defining the complement of a given regular expression, a double exponential size increase cannot be avoided. Similarly, when constructing a regular ..."
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Cited by 22 (5 self)
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We study the succinctness of the complement and intersection of regular expressions. In particular, we show that when constructing a regular expression defining the complement of a given regular expression, a double exponential size increase cannot be avoided. Similarly, when constructing a regular expression defining the intersection of a fixed and an arbitrary number of regular expressions, an exponential and double exponential size increase, respectively, can in worstcase not be avoided. All mentioned lower bounds improve the existing ones by one exponential and are tight in the sense that the target expression can be constructed in the corresponding time class, i.e., exponential or double exponential time. As a byproduct, we generalize a theorem by Ehrenfeucht and Zeiger stating that there is a class of DFAs which are exponentially more succinct than regular expressions, to a fixed fourletter alphabet. When the given regular expressions are oneunambiguous, as for instance required by the XML Schema specification, the complement can be computed in polynomial time whereas the bounds concerning intersection continue to hold. For the subclass of singleoccurrence regular expressions, we prove a tight exponential lower bound for intersection.
Efficient inclusion for a class of XML types with interleaving and counting
 Proceedings of the 11th International Symposium on Database Programming Languages, DBPL 2007
"... Inclusion between XML types is important but expensive, and is much more expensive when unordered types are considered. We prove here that inclusion for XML types with interleaving and counting can be decided in polynomial time in presence of two important restrictions: no element appears twice in t ..."
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Cited by 21 (4 self)
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Inclusion between XML types is important but expensive, and is much more expensive when unordered types are considered. We prove here that inclusion for XML types with interleaving and counting can be decided in polynomial time in presence of two important restrictions: no element appears twice in the same content model, and Kleene star is only applied to disjunctions of single elements. Our approach is based on the transformation of each such content model into a set of constraints that completely characterizes the generated language. We then reduce inclusion checking to constraint implication. We exhibit a quadratic algorithm to perform inclusion checking on a RAM machine. Key words: PACS:
Complexity of decision problems for XML schemas and chain regular expressions
 Siam J. Comp
"... Abstract. We study the complexity of the inclusion, equivalence, and intersection problem of extended CHAin Regular Expressions (eCHAREs). These are regular expressions with a very simple structure: they basically consist of the concatenation of factors, where each factor is a disjunction of strings ..."
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Cited by 19 (8 self)
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Abstract. We study the complexity of the inclusion, equivalence, and intersection problem of extended CHAin Regular Expressions (eCHAREs). These are regular expressions with a very simple structure: they basically consist of the concatenation of factors, where each factor is a disjunction of strings, possibly extended with “∗”, “+”, or “?”. Though of a very simple from, the usage of such expressions is widespread as eCHAREs, for instance, constitute a super class of the regular expressions most frequently used in practice in schema languages for XML. In particular, we show that all our lower and upper bounds for the inclusion and equivalence problem carry over to the corresponding decision problems for extended contextfree grammars, and to singletype and restrained competition tree grammars. These grammars form abstractions of Document Type Definitions (DTDs), XML Schema definitions (XSDs) and the class of onepass preorder typeable XML schemas, respectively. For the intersection problem, we show that obtained complexities only carry over to DTDs. In this respect, we also study two other classes of regular expressions related to XML: deterministic expressions and expressions where the number of occurrences of alphabet symbols is bounded by a constant. 1. Introduction. Although
Simplifying XML Schema: Effortless Handling of Nondeterministic Regular Expressions
, 2009
"... Whether beloved or despised, XML Schema is momentarily the only industrially accepted schema language for XML and is unlikely to become obsolete any time soon. Nevertheless, many nontransparent restrictions unnecessarily complicate the design of XSDs. For instance, complex content models in XML Sche ..."
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Cited by 16 (10 self)
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Whether beloved or despised, XML Schema is momentarily the only industrially accepted schema language for XML and is unlikely to become obsolete any time soon. Nevertheless, many nontransparent restrictions unnecessarily complicate the design of XSDs. For instance, complex content models in XML Schema are constrained by the infamous unique particle attribution (UPA) constraint. In formal language theoretic terms, this constraint restricts content models to deterministic regular expressions. As the latter constitute a semantic notion and no simple corresponding syntactical characterization is known, it is very difficult for nonexpert users to understand exactly when and why content models do or do not violate UPA. In the present paper, we therefore investigate solutions to relieve users from the burden of UPA by automatically transforming nondeterministic expressions into concise deterministic ones defining the same language or constituting good approximations. The presented techniques facilitate XSD construction by reducing the design task at hand more towards the complexity of the modeling task. In addition, our algorithms can serve as a plugin for