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Fri, November 13, 2020
10:00 am
12:00 pm
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Seminar: Mikaël Monet
Title: The Complexity of Counting Problems over Incomplete Databases

Abstract: In this presentation, I will talk about various counting problems that naturally
arise in the context of query evaluation over incomplete databases. Incomplete
databases are relational databases that can contain unknown values in the form
of labeled nulls. We will assume that the domains of these unknown values are
finite and, for a Boolean query $q$, we will consider the following two
problems: given as input an incomplete database $D$, (a) return the number of
completions of $D$ that satisfy $q$; or (b) return or the number of valuations
of the nulls of $D$ yielding a completion that satisfies $q$.

We will study the computational complexity of these problems when $q$ is a
self-join--free conjunctive query, and study the impact on the complexity of
the following two restrictions: (1) every null occurs at most once in $D$ (what
is called *Codd tables*); and (2) the domain of each null is the same. Roughly
speaking, we will see that counting completions is much harder than counting
valuations, and that both (1) and (2) can reduce the complexity of our

I will also talk about the approximability of these problems and prove that,
while counting valuations can efficiently be approximated, in most cases
counting completions cannot.

On our way, we will encounter the counting complexity classes #P, Span-P and

The presentation will be based on joint work with Marcelo Arenas and Pablo
Barcelo; see

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