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Technical Perspective: Data Distribution for Fast Joins

By Leonid Libkin

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 60 No. 3, Page 92

When we talk about big data and data analytics, a big—some say, the biggest—component of it is what is known as data wrangling: extracting, integrating, querying, and otherwise preparing data for meaningful analytic algorithms to be applied. Data wrangling relies on well-known and trusted database technology, but many classical database questions now are posed in new settings. One reason for this is that parallel processing becomes very important for handling large amounts of data. This has given rise to a steady line of research on classical database problems in new environments where costs caused by massive parallelism dominate the usual I/O costs of the standard database environment. These new costs are primarily related to communication.

What is the most drastic way to reduce the cost of communication for parallel data processing algorithms, for example, query evaluation? If we could distribute data to servers in a single round of communication, let them do their work, and then collect the results to produce the answer to our query, that would be ideal. This is precisely the kind of questions studied in the following paper. It looks at join algorithms: the most common and important task in database query processing, and investigates conditions on joins that make one-round parallel algorithms produce correct results.


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