Customized policies for handling partial information in relational databases

Maria Vanina Martinez, Cristian Molinaro, John Grant, V. S. Subrahmanian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Most real-world databases have at least some missing data. Today, users of such databases are "on their own" in terms of how they manage this incompleteness. In this paper, we propose the general concept of partial information policy (PIP) operator to handle incompleteness in relational databases. PIP operators build upon preference frameworks for incomplete information, but accommodate different types of incomplete data (e.g., a value exists but is not known; a value does not exist; a value may or may not exist). Different users in the real world have different ways in which they want to handle incompleteness-PIP operators allow them to specify a policy that matches their attitude to risk and their knowledge of the application and how the data was collected. We propose index structures for efficiently evaluating PIP operators and experimentally assess their effectiveness on a real-world airline data set. We also study how relational algebra operators and PIP operators interact with one another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6189349
Pages (from-to)1254-1271
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Database semantics
  • Knowledge personalization and customization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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