Concept-Oriented Query Language for Data Modeling and Analysis

Concept-Oriented Query Language for Data Modeling and Analysis

Alexandr Savinov (SAP Research Center Dresden, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-475-2.ch003


This chapter describes a novel query language, called the concept-oriented query language (COQL), and demonstrates how it can be used for data modeling and analysis. The query language is based on a novel construct, called concept, and two relations between concepts, inclusion and partial order. Concepts generalize conventional classes and are used for describing domain-specific identities. Inclusion relation generalizes inheritance and is used for describing hierarchical address spaces. Partial order among concepts is used to define two main operations: projection and de-projection. This chapter demonstrates how these constructs are used to solve typical tasks in data modeling and analysis such as logical navigation, multidimensional analysis, and inference.
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A model is a mathematical description of a world aspect and a data model provides means for data organization in the form of some structural principles. These structural principles are used to break all elements into smaller groups making access to and manipulation of data more efficient for end-users and applications. The concept-oriented model (COM) is a novel general-purpose approach to data modeling (Savinov, 2009a) which is intended to solve a wide spectrum of problems by reducing them to the following three structural principles distinguishing it from other data models:

  • Duality principleanswers the question how elements exist by assuming that any element is a couple of one identity and one entity (called also reference and object, respectively)

  • Inclusion principle answers the question where elements exist by postulating that any element is included in some domain (called also scope or context)

  • Order principle answers the question what an element is, that is, how it is defined and what is its meaning by assuming that all elements are partially ordered so that any element has a number of greater and lesser elements

Formally, the concept-oriented model is described using a formalism of nested partially ordered sets. The syntactic embodiment of this model is the concept-oriented query language (COQL). This language reflects the principles of COM by introducing a novel data modeling construct, called concept (hence the name of the approach), and two relations among concepts, inclusion and partial order. Concepts are intended to generalize conventional classes and inclusion generalizes inheritance. Concepts and inclusion are used also in a novel approach to programming, called concept-oriented programming (COP) (Savinov, 2008, 2009b). Partial order relation among concepts is intended to represent data semantics and is used for complex analytical tasks and reasoning about data.

The concept-oriented model and query language are aimed at solving several general problems which are difficult to solve using traditional approaches. In particular, the following factors motivated this work:

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