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A Simple Algorithm for Consistent Query Answering Under Primary Keys

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Diego Figueira, Anantha Padmanabha, Luc Segoufin, and Cristina Sirangelo. A Simple Algorithm for Consistent Query Answering Under Primary Keys. In 26th International Conference on Database Theory (ICDT 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 255, pp. 24:1-24:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)
https://doi.org/10.4230/LIPIcs.ICDT.2023.24

Abstract

We consider the dichotomy conjecture for consistent query answering under primary key constraints. It states that, for every fixed Boolean conjunctive query q, testing whether q is certain (i.e. whether it evaluates to true over all repairs of a given inconsistent database) is either polynomial time or coNP-complete. This conjecture has been verified for self-join-free and path queries. We propose a simple inflationary fixpoint algorithm for consistent query answering which, for a given database, naively computes a set Δ of subsets of database repairs with at most k facts, where k is the size of the query q. The algorithm runs in polynomial time and can be formally defined as: 1) Initialize Δ with all sets S of at most k facts such that S⊧ q. 2) Add any set S of at most k facts to Δ if there exists a block B (i.e., a maximal set of facts sharing the same key) such that for every fact a ∈ B there is a set S' ∈ Δ contained in S ∪ {a}. The algorithm answers "q is certain" iff Δ eventually contains the empty set. The algorithm correctly computes certainty when the query q falls in the polynomial time cases of the known dichotomies for self-join-free queries and path queries. For arbitrary Boolean conjunctive queries, the algorithm is an under-approximation: the query is guaranteed to be certain if the algorithm claims so. However, there are polynomial time certain queries (with self-joins) which are not identified as such by the algorithm.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
• Theory of computation → Database query languages (principles)
Keywords
• primary keys
• conjunctive queries

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References

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