Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Elke A. Rundensteiner, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Daniel J. Dougherty, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Murali Mani, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Haixun Wang, Committee Member




In the era of "big data revolution," marked by an exponential growth of information, extracting value from data enables analysts and businesses to address challenging problems such as drug discovery, fraud detection, and earthquake predictions. Multi-Criteria Decision Support (MCDS) queries are at the core of big-data analytics resulting in several classes of MCDS queries such as OLAP, Top-K, Pareto-optimal, and nearest neighbor queries. The intuitive nature of specifying multi-dimensional preferences has made Pareto-optimal queries, also known as skyline queries, popular. Existing skyline algorithms however do not address several crucial issues such as performing skyline evaluation over disparate sources, progressively generating skyline results, or robustly handling workload with multiple skyline over join queries. In this dissertation we thoroughly investigate topics in the area of skyline-aware query evaluation. In this dissertation, we first propose a novel execution framework called SKIN that treats skyline over joins as first class citizens during query processing. This is in contrast to existing techniques that treat skylines as an "add-on," loosely integrated with query processing by being placed on top of the query plan. SKIN is effective in exploiting the skyline characteristics of the tuples within individual data sources as well as across disparate sources. This enables SKIN to significantly reduce two primary costs, namely the cost of generating the join results and the cost of skyline comparisons to compute the final results. Second, we address the crucial business need to report results early; as soon as they are being generated so that users can formulate competitive decisions in near real-time. On top of SKIN, we built a progressive query evaluation framework ProgXe to transform the execution of queries involving skyline over joins to become non-blocking, i.e., to be progressively generating results early and often. By exploiting SKIN's principle of processing query at multiple levels of abstraction, ProgXe is able to: (1) extract the output dependencies in the output spaces by analyzing both the input and output space, and (2) exploit this knowledge of abstract-level relationships to guarantee correctness of early output. Third, real-world applications handle query workloads with diverse Quality of Service (QoS) requirements also referred to as contracts. Time sensitive queries, such as fraud detection, require results to progressively output with minimal delay, while ad-hoc and reporting queries can tolerate delay. In this dissertation, by building on the principles of ProgXe we propose the Contract-Aware Query Execution (CAQE) framework to support the open problem of contract driven multi-query processing. CAQE employs an adaptive execution strategy to continuously monitor the run-time satisfaction of queries and aggressively take corrective steps whenever the contracts are not being met. Lastly, to elucidate the portability of the core principle of this dissertation, the reasoning and query processing at different levels of data abstraction, we apply them to solve an orthogonal research question to auto-generate recommendation queries that facilitate users in exploring a complex database system. User queries are often too strict or too broad requiring a frustrating trial-and-error refinement process to meet the desired result cardinality while preserving original query semantics. Based on the principles of SKIN, we propose CAPRI to automatically generate refined queries that: (1) attain the desired cardinality and (2) minimize changes to the original query intentions. In our comprehensive experimental study of each part of this dissertation, we demonstrate the superiority of the proposed strategies over state-of-the-art techniques in both efficiency, as well as resource consumption.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Computer Science

Project Type


Date Accepted





Progressive Query Evaluation, Query Processing, Pareto-Optimal Queries, Cardinality Assurance, Query Refinement, Multi-Criteria Decision Support, Skyline Queries