Active learning of GAV schema mappings
Schema mappings are syntactic specifications of the relationship between two database schemas, typically called the source schema and the target schema. They have been used extensively in formalizing and analyzing data inter-operability tasks, especially data exchange and data integration. There is a growing body of research on deriving schema mappings from data examples, that is, pairs of source and target instances that depict the behavior of the unknown schema mapping. One of the approaches used in this endeavor casts the derivation of a schema mapping from data examples as a learning problem. Earlier work has shown that GAV mappings (global-as-view schema mappings) are learnable in Angluin's model of exact learning with membership queries and equivalence queries. Here, we validate the practical applicability of this theoretical result by designing and implementing an active learning algorithm, called GAV-Learn that derives a syntactic specification of a GAV mapping from a given set of data examples and from a “black-box" implementation. We analyze the properties of GAV-Learn and, among other results, we show that it produces a GAV mapping that has minimal size and is a good approximation of the unknown GAV mapping. Furthermore, we carry out a detailed experimental evaluation that demonstrates the effectiveness of GAV-Learn along different metrics. In particular, we compare GAV-Learn with two earlier approaches for deriving GAV mappings from data examples, and establish that it performs significantly better than the two baselines.