Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Research Program

Research Directions

At the beginning of the Valda team, the project was to focus on the following directions:

We believe the first two directions have been followed in a satisfactory manner. The focus on personal information management has not been kept for various organizational reasons, however, but the third axis of the project is reoriented to more general aspects of Web data management.

New permanent arrivals in the group since its creation have impacted its research directions in the following manner:

We intend to keep producing leading research on the foundations of data management. Generally speaking, the goal is to investigate the borders of feasibility of various tasks. For instance, what are the assumptions on data that allow for computable problems? When is it not possible at all? When can we hope for efficient query answering, when is it hopeless? This is a problem of theoretical nature which is necessary for understanding the limit of the methods and driving research towards the scenarios where positive results may be obtainable. Only when we have understood the limitation of different methods and have many examples where this is possible, we can hope to design a solid foundation that allowing for a good trade-off between what can be done (needs from the users) and what can be achieved (limitation from the system).

Similarly, we will continue our work, both foundational and practical, on various aspects of provenance and uncertainty management. One overall long-term goal is to reach a full understanding of the interactions between query evaluation or other broader data management tasks and uncertain and annotated data models. We would in particular want to go towards a full classification of tractable (typically polynomial-time) and intractable (typically NP-hard for decision problems, or #P-hard for probability evaluation) tasks, extending and connecting the query-based dichotomy [51] on probabilistic query evaluation with the instance-based one of [39], [40]. Another long-term goal is to consider more dynamic scenarios than what has been considered so far in the uncertain data management literature: when following a workflow, or when interacting with intensional data sources, how to properly represent and update uncertainty annotations that are associated with data. This is critical for many complex data management scenarios where one has to maintain a probabilistic current knowledge of the world, while obtaining new knowledge by posing queries and accessing data sources. Such intensional tasks requires minimizing jointly data uncertainty and cost to data access.

As application area, in addition to the historical focus on personal information management which is now less stressed, we target Web data (Web pages, the semantic Web, social networks, the deep Web, crowdsourcing platforms, etc.).

We aim at keeping a delicate balance between theoretical, foundational research, and systems research, including development and implementation. This is a difficult balance to find, especially since most Valda researchers have a tendency to favor theoretical work, but we believe it is also one of the strengths of the team.