Christoph Koch: Foundations of Data Management Systems

© 2011 EPFL

© 2011 EPFL

The excellence of the research performed at EPFL has once again been recognized at an international level. Christoph Koch has received an STARTING GRANT 2011 from the European Research Council (ERC).

Foundations of Algebraic and Dynamic Data Management Systems

Contemporary database query languages are ultimately founded on logic and feature an additive operation usually a form of (multi)set union or disjunction that is asymmetric in that additions or updates do not always have an inverse. This asymmetry puts a greater part of the machinery of abstract algebra for equation solving outside the reach of databases. However, such equation solving would be a key functionality that problems such as query equivalence testing and data integration could be reduced to: In the current scenario of the presence of an asymmetric additive operation they are undecidable. Moreover, query languages with a symmetric additive operation (i.e., which has an inverse and is thus based on ring theory) would open up databases for a large range of new scientific and mathematical applications.The goal of the proposed project is to reinvent database management systems with a foundation in abstract algebra and specifically in ring theory. The presence of an additive inverse allows to cleanly define differences between queries. This gives rise to a database analogue of differential calculus that leads to radically new incremental and adaptive query evaluation algorithms that substantially outperform the state of the art techniques. These algorithms enable a new class of systems which I call Dynamic Data Management Systems. Such systems can maintain continuously fresh query views at extremely high update rates and have important applications in interactive Large-scale Data Analysis. There is a natural connection between differences and updates, motivating the group theoretic study of updates that will lead to better ways of creating out-of-core data processing algorithms for new storage devices. Basing queries on ring theory leads to a new class of systems, Algebraic Data Management Systems, which herald a convergence of database systems and computer algebra systems.

Max ERC funding: 1.48 million Euros
Duration: 60 months
Host institution: EPFL
Project acronym: ALGILE
Domain: Physical and Engineering Sciences