Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Elke A. Rundensteiner, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Micha Hofri, Reader

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Michael A. Gennert, Department Head




Many applications are migrating or beginning to make use native XML data. We anticipate that queries will emerge that emphasize the structural semantics of XML query languages like XPath and XQuery. This brings a need for an efficient query engine and database management system tailored for XML data similar to traditional relational engines. While mapping large XML documents into relational database systems while possible, poses difficulty in mapping XML queries to the less powerful relational query language SQL and creates a data model mismatch between relational tables and semi-structured XML data. Hence native solutions to efficiently store and query XML data are being developed recently. However, most of these systems thus far fail to demonstrate scalability with large document sizes, to provide robust support for the XPath query language nor to adequately address costing with respect to query optimization. In this thesis, we propose a novel cost-driven XPath engine to support the scalable evaluation of ad-hoc XPath expressions called VAMANA. VAMANA makes use of an efficient XML repository for storing and indexing large XML documents called the Multi-Axis Storage Structure (MASS) developed at WPI. VAMANA extensively uses indexes for query evaluation by considering index-only plans. To the best of our knowledge, it is the only XML query engine that supports an index plan approach for large XML documents. Our index-oriented query plans allow queries to be evaluated while reading only a fraction of the data, as all tuples for a particular context node are clustered together. The pipelined query framework minimizes the cost of handing intermediate data during query processing. Unlike other native solutions, VAMANA provides support for all 13 XPath axes. Our schema independent cost model provides dynamically calculated statistics that are then used for intelligent cost-based transformations, further improving performance. Our optimization strategy for increasing execution time performance is affirmed through our experimental studies on XMark benchmark data. VAMANA query execution is significantly faster than leading available XML query engines.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Computer Science

Project Type


Date Accepted





query optimization, cost estimation, XPath engine, query processing, index-based execution, XML (Document markup language), Query languages (Computer science)