Information-Based Distance Measures and the Canonical Reflection of View Updates

For the problem of reflecting an update on a database view to the main schema, the constant-complement strategies are precisely those which avoid all update anomalies, and so define the gold standard for well-behaved solutions to the problem. However, the families of view updates which are supported under such strategies are limited, so it is sometimes necessary to go beyond them, albeit in a systematic fashion. In this work, an investigation of such extended strategies is initiated for relational schemata. The approach is to characterize the information content of a database instance, and then require that the optimal reflection of a view update to the main schema embody the least possible change of information. The key property is identified to be strong monotonicity of the view, meaning that view insertions may always be reflected as insertions to the main schema, and likewise for deletions. In that context it is shown that for insertions and deletions, an optimal update, entailing the least change of information, exists and is unique up to isomorphism for wide classes of constraints.

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