Expressive Languages for Path Queries over Graph-Structured Data

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Barcelo, Pablo ; Libkin, Leonid ; Lin, Anthony W. ; Wood, Peter T. (2012)
  • Publisher: ASSOC COMPUTING MACHINERY
  • Journal: ACM TRANSACTIONS ON DATABASE SYSTEMS (issn: 0362-5915)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1145/2389241.2389250, doi: 10.1145/1807085.1807089
  • Subject: Graph databases, conjunctive queries, regular path queries, regular relations | /dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1700/1710 | Information Systems

For many problems arising in the setting of graph querying (such as finding semantic associations in RDF graphs, exact and approximate pattern matching, sequence alignment, etc.), the power of standard languages such as the widely studied conjunctive regular path queries (CRPQs) is insufficient in at least two ways. First, they cannot output paths and second, more crucially, they cannot express relationships among paths.<br/><br/>We thus propose a class of extended CRPQs, called ECRPQs, which add regular relations on tuples of paths, and allow path variables in the heads of queries. We provide several examples of their usefulness in querying graph structured data, and study their properties. We analyze query evaluation and representation of tuples of paths in the output by means of automata. We present a detailed analysis of data and combined complexity of queries, and consider restrictions that lower the complexity of ECRPQs to that of relational conjunctive queries. We study the containment problem, and look at further extensions with first-order features, and with nonregular relations that add arithmetic constraints on the lengths of paths and numbers of occurrences of labels.