UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Data coordination Lawrence, Michael


Data coordination is the problem of updating a contingent database C as a result of changes to a database B on which it depends. For example, a general contractor’s construction cost estimate (C) needs to be updated in response to changes made by an architect to a building design (B). Although these two databases are related in a very specific way, they contain information about fundamentally different types of objects: the cost estimate is composed of items which represent work results, and the building design is composed of physical objects. Motivated by scenarios such as design-cost coordination, we propose an approach to coordinating data between autonomous, heterogeneous sources which have a base-contingent relationship. We propose the use of declarative mappings to express exact relationships between the two. Using materialized views to maintain state, we give an overall approach for coordinating sets of updates from B to C through view differencing and view update translation. We adopt ideas from data exchange and incomplete information to generate the set of all possible updates which satisfy a mapping. We propose methods for assisting a user (C’s administrator) in choosing amongst the possible updates, and experimentally evaluate these methods, as well as the overall benefit of semiautomatic data coordination, in a usability study. We then discuss practical challenges in applying our general techniques to the domain of architecture, engineering and construction, by interviewing practitioners and analyzing data from two construction projects.

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