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A Framework for Estimating Stream Expression Cardinalities

Authors Anirban Dasgupta, Kevin J. Lang, Lee Rhodes, Justin Thaler

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Anirban Dasgupta
Kevin J. Lang
Lee Rhodes
Justin Thaler

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Anirban Dasgupta, Kevin J. Lang, Lee Rhodes, and Justin Thaler. A Framework for Estimating Stream Expression Cardinalities. In 19th International Conference on Database Theory (ICDT 2016). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 48, pp. 6:1-6:17, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2016)


Given m distributed data streams A_1,..., A_m, we consider the problem of estimating the number of unique identifiers in streams defined by set expressions over A_1,..., A_m. We identify a broad class of algorithms for solving this problem, and show that the estimators output by any algorithm in this class are perfectly unbiased and satisfy strong variance bounds. Our analysis unifies and generalizes a variety of earlier results in the literature. To demonstrate its generality, we describe several novel sampling algorithms in our class, and show that they achieve a novel tradeoff between accuracy, space usage, update speed, and applicability.
  • sketching
  • data stream algorithms
  • mergeability
  • distinct elements
  • set operations


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