Batya Kenig ; Dan Suciu - Integrity Constraints Revisited: From Exact to Approximate Implication

lmcs:6925 - Logical Methods in Computer Science, January 11, 2022, Volume 18, Issue 1 - https://doi.org/10.46298/lmcs-18(1:5)2022
Integrity Constraints Revisited: From Exact to Approximate Implication

Authors: Batya Kenig ; Dan Suciu

    Integrity constraints such as functional dependencies (FD) and multi-valued dependencies (MVD) are fundamental in database schema design. Likewise, probabilistic conditional independences (CI) are crucial for reasoning about multivariate probability distributions. The implication problem studies whether a set of constraints (antecedents) implies another constraint (consequent), and has been investigated in both the database and the AI literature, under the assumption that all constraints hold exactly. However, many applications today consider constraints that hold only approximately. In this paper we define an approximate implication as a linear inequality between the degree of satisfaction of the antecedents and consequent, and we study the relaxation problem: when does an exact implication relax to an approximate implication? We use information theory to define the degree of satisfaction, and prove several results. First, we show that any implication from a set of data dependencies (MVDs+FDs) can be relaxed to a simple linear inequality with a factor at most quadratic in the number of variables; when the consequent is an FD, the factor can be reduced to 1. Second, we prove that there exists an implication between CIs that does not admit any relaxation; however, we prove that every implication between CIs relaxes "in the limit". Then, we show that the implication problem for differential constraints in market basket analysis also admits a relaxation with a factor equal to 1. Finally, we show how some of the results in the paper can be derived using the I-measure theory, which relates between information theoretic measures and set theory. Our results recover, and sometimes extend, previously known results about the implication problem: the implication of MVDs and FDs can be checked by considering only 2-tuple relations.


    Volume: Volume 18, Issue 1
    Published on: January 11, 2022
    Accepted on: November 23, 2021
    Submitted on: November 26, 2020
    Keywords: Computer Science - Databases

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