Our group pursues a variety of “all-time classic” database research questions – prime examples include query language design, translation, and optimization – but with a few twists:

  • We are particularly interested in using different flavors of relational database technology to support non-relational data models and languages. This has led to efficient and scalable XML and XQuery processors (Pathfinder and MonetDB/XQuery), for example.
  • Whenever insightful and promising, we apply techniques that have their roots in the programming languages community to the database research domain. This paves the way for expressive and elegant language-integrated queries, new query compilation techniques, declarative query debuggers, or data provenance analyzers.

See our publications on these topics.

DSH - Database-Supported Haskell

Database-Supported Haskell, DSH for short, is a Haskell library for database-supported program execution. Using the DSH library, a relational database management system (RDBMS) can be used as a coprocessor for the Haskell programming language, especially for those program fragments that carry out data-intensive and data-parallel computations. Rather than embedding a relational language into Haskell, DSH turns idiomatic Haskell programs into SQL queries.

True Language-Level SQL Debugging

We present Habitat, a declarative observational debugger for SQL. Habitat facilitates true language-level (not: plan-level) debugging of, probably flawed, SQL queries that yield unexpected results. Users may mark arbitrary SQL subexpressions-ranging from literals, over fragments of predicates, to entire subquery blocks-to observe whether these evaluate as expected.

From the marked SQL text, Habitat’s algebraic compiler derives a new query whose result represents the values of the desired observations. These observations are generated by the target SQL database host itself. Prior data extraction or extra debugging middleware is not required. Habitat merges multiple observations into a single (nested) tabular display, letting a user explore the relationship of various observations. Filter predicates furthermore ease the interpretation of large results.

Ferry - Database-Supported Program Execution

With project Ferry we try to establish a connection between two somewhat distant shores: programming languages and database technology. Ferry explores how far we can push the idea of relational database engines that directly and seamlessly participate in program evaluation to support the super-fast execution of data-intensive programs written in a variety of (general purpose) programming languages. Ferry builds on technology developed in the context of our project Pathfinder.