Explaining Missing Answers to SPJUA Queries

Melanie Herschel • Mauricio A. Hernández

Proceedings of the VLDB Endowment, Volume 3, September 2010 (VLDB 2010), Singapore, September 2010.

This paper addresses the problem of explaining missing answers in queries that include selection, projection, join, union, aggregation and grouping (SPJUA). Explaining missing answers of queries is useful in various scenarios, including query understanding and debugging. We present a general framework for the generation of these explanations based on source data. We describe the algorithms used to generate a correct, finite, and, when possible, minimal set of explanations. These algorithms are part of Artemis, a system that assists query developers in analyzing queries by, for instance, allowing them to ask why certain tuples are not in the query results. Experimental results demonstrate that Artemis generates explanations of missing tuples at a pace that allows developers to effectively use them for query analysis.