Canonicalisation of Monotone SPARQL Queries

author: Jaime Salas, University of Chile
published: Nov. 22, 2018,   recorded: October 2018,   views: 250


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Caching in the context of expressive query languages such as SPARQL is complicated by the difficulty of detecting equivalent queries: deciding if two conjunctive queries are equivalent is npc, where adding further query features makes the problem undecidable. Despite this complexity, in this paper we propose an algorithm that performs syntactic canonicalisation of SPARQL queries such that the answers for the canonicalised query will not change versus the original. We can guarantee that the canonicalisation of two queries within a core fragment of SPARQL (monotone queries with select, project, join and union) is equal if and only if the two queries are equivalent; we also support other SPARQL features but with a weaker soundness guarantee: that the (partially) canonicalised query is equivalent to the input query. Despite the fact that canonicalisation must be harder than the equivalence problem, we show the algorithm to be practical for real-world queries taken from SPARQL endpoint logs, and further show that it detects more equivalent queries than when compared with purely syntactic methods. We also present the results of experiments over synthetic queries designed to stress-test the canonicalisation method, highlighting difficult cases.

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