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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Computer Science

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Yanlei Diao

Second Advisor

Anna Liu

Third Advisor

Benjamin Marlin

Fourth Advisor

Gerome Miklau

Subject Categories

Databases and Information Systems


Data management is becoming increasingly important in many applications, in particular, in large scientific databases where (1) data can be naturally modeled by continuous random variables, and (2) queries can involve complex predicates and/or be difficult for users to express explicitly. My thesis work aims to provide efficient support to both the "data uncertainty" and the "query uncertainty". When data is uncertain, an important class of queries requires query answers to be returned if their existence probabilities pass a threshold. I start with optimizing such threshold query processing for continuous uncertain data in the relational model by (i) expediting selections by reducing dimensionality of integration and using faster filters, (ii) expediting joins using new indexes on uncertain data, and (iii) optimizing a query plan using a dynamic, per-tuple based approach. Evaluation results using real-world data and benchmark queries show the accuracy and efficiency of my techniques and the dynamic query planning has over 50% performance gains in most cases over a state-of-the-art threshold query optimizer and is very close to the optimal planning in all cases. Next I address uncertain data management in the array model, which has gained popu- larity for scientific data processing recently due to performance benefits. I define the formal semantics of array operations on uncertain data involving both value uncertainty within individual tuples and position uncertainty regarding where a tuple should belong in an array given uncertain dimension attributes, and propose a suite of storage and evaluation strategies for array operators, with a focus on a novel scheme that bounds the overhead of querying by strategically placing a few replicas of the tuples with large variances. Evaluation results show that for common workloads, my best-performing techniques outperform baselines up to 1 to 2 orders of magnitude while incurring only small storage overhead. Finally, to bridge the increasing gap between the fast growth of data and the limited human ability to comprehend data and help the user retrieve high-value content from data more effectively, I propose to build interactive data exploration as a new database service, using an approach called “explore-by-example”. To build an effective system, my work is grounded in a rigorous SVM-based active learning framework and focuses on the following three problems: (i) accuracy-based and convergence-based stopping criteria, (ii) expediting example acquisition in each iteration, and (iii) expediting the final result retrieval. Evaluation results using real-world data and query patterns show that my system significantly outperforms state-of-the-art systems in accuracy (18x accuracy improvement for 4-dimensional workloads) while achieving desired efficiency for interactive exploration (2 to 5 seconds per iteration).