An Answer Explanation Model for Probabilistic Database Queries

A.H. van Bunningen, L. Feng, M.M. Fokkinga, Peter M.G. Apers

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Following the availability of huge amounts of uncertain data, coming from diverse ranges of applications such as sensors, machine learning or mining approaches, information extraction and integration, etc. in recent years, we have seen a revival of interests in probabilistic databases. Queries over these databases result in probabilistic answers. As the process of arriving at these answers is based on the underlying stored uncertain data, we argue that from the standpoint of an end user, it is helpful for such a system to give an explanation on how it arrives at an answer and on which uncertainty assumptions the derived answer is based. In this way, the user with his/her own knowledge can decide how much confidence to place in this probabilistic answer. The aim of this paper is to design such an answer explanation model for probabilistic database queries. We report our design principles and show the methods to compute the answer explanations. One of the main contributions of our model is that it fills the gap between giving only the answer probability, and giving the full derivation. Furthermore, we show how to balance verifiability and influence of explanation components through the concept of verifiable views. The behavior of the model and its computational efficiency are demonstrated through an extensive performance study.
Original languageUndefined
Place of PublicationEnschede
PublisherCentre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT)
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2007

Publication series

NameCTIT Technical Report Series
PublisherCentre for Telematics and Information Technology, University of Twente
ISSN (Print)1381-3625


  • IR-64155
  • METIS-241742
  • EWI-10388

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