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Metadata Management

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Abstract: The management of heterogeneous databases, in integrated or collaborative contexts, always involves the need for solutions to data programmability issues. In general, data programmability addresses problems dealing with evolving scenarios: changes in a database which collaborates in a heterogeneous environment often imply a sequence of propagating changes in related databases at any level, model, schema, and data.

In this scenario there is the need to translate data and their descriptions from one model (i.e. data model) to another. Even small variations of models are often enough to create difficulties. For example, while most database systems are now object-relational, the actual features offered by different systems rarely coincide, so data migration requires a conversion. Every new database technology introduces more heterogeneity and thus more need for translations.

According to the model management proposal, these problems can be solved conveniently applying the ModelGen operator, that can be defined as follows using our terminology: given two models M_1 and M_2 and a schema S_1 of M_1, ModelGen translates S_1 into a schema S_2 of M_2 that properly represents S_1. In my PhD thesis I presented our theoretical and practical contribution to the development of an effective implementation of a generic (i.e.model independent) platform for schema and data translation. We improve the expressive power of its supermodel, that is the set of models handled and accuracy and precision of such models representation. We show how it is possible to automatically reason on models and schemas and how to and a suitable translation given a source and a target model exploiting a formal system, proved to be sound and complete. Then we propose an extension of Datalog based on the use of hierarchies and a sort of polymorphism, that provides a significant simplification in the definition of translations and a higher level of reuse in the specification of elementary translations. Finally we present a new, lightweight, runtime approach to the translation problem, where translations of data are performed directly on the operational system.

Biography: Giorgio Gianforme is a research associate (“assegnista di ricerca”) at Università Roma Tre. He studied in Rome at Università Roma Tre, where he obtained the “Laurea” (five year program, equivalent to a Master degree) in Computer Engineering in May 2005 with maximum grade and highest honours (110/110 cum laude).

After graduation, he joined the database group of Università Roma Tre and then he started his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering, co-funded by Microsoft Research through their European PhD Scholarship Programme.

He worked under the supervision of Prof. Paolo Atzeni on mappings and transformations of schemas and data in heterogeneous settings and presented several results at international conferences and in one of the top database journals. He will defend his Ph.D. thesis on next 2nd of April.

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