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Re: [Fwd: SPARQL OPTIONAL vs UNION treatment of sub-graph matching]

From: Steve Harris <steve.harris@garlik.com>
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2006 16:09:07 +0100
Message-Id: <6252BCFC-ED58-46AF-A4AD-2AD2AA10BD0E@garlik.com>
Cc: RDF Data Access Working Group <public-rdf-dawg@w3.org>
To: andy.seaborne@hp.com


On 27 Oct 2006, at 14:40, Seaborne, Andy wrote:

>
> Forwarded to the working group list from the comments list as  
> related to our current discussions.
>
> 	Andy
>
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: 	SPARQL OPTIONAL vs UNION treatment of sub-graph matching
> Resent-Date: 	Fri, 27 Oct 2006 10:53:41 +0000
> Resent-From: 	public-rdf-dawg-comments@w3.org
> Date: 	Thu, 26 Oct 2006 19:23:43 -0400
> From: 	Patrick Shironoshita <Patrick.Shironoshita@infotechsoft.com>
> To: 	<public-rdf-dawg-comments@w3.org>
> CC: 	'Mansur Kabuka' <kabuka@infotechsoft.com>
>
> As part of our work in implementing ontology-based querying, we have
> developed an algebra for SPARQL which we have recently submitted for
> publication. During the development of this query algebra, we have  
> found
> that the treatment of graph matching in OPTIONAL and UNION graph
> patterns is, in our opinion, inconsistent, in particular with  
> respect of
> the issue of sub-graph matching - that is, in the issue of whether
> solutions to a graph pattern can be sub-graphs of other solutions.
>
> Consider, for example, the following OPTIONAL query (from the  
> SPARQL spec):
>
> Data:
>
> @prefix foaf:       <http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/> .
> @prefix rdf:        <http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#> ..
>
> _:a  rdf:type        foaf:Person .
> _:a  foaf:name       "Alice" .
> _:a  foaf:mbox       <mailto:alice@example.com> .
> _:a  foaf:mbox       <mailto:alice@work.example> .
>
> _:b  rdf:type        foaf:Person .
> _:b  foaf:name       "Bob" .
>
> OPTIONAL Query:
>
> PREFIX foaf: <http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/>
> SELECT ?name ?mbox
> WHERE  { ?x foaf:name  ?name .
>          OPTIONAL { ?x  foaf:mbox  ?mbox }
>        }
>
> OPTIONAL query Result:
> name	mbox
> "Alice"	<mailto:alice@example.com>
> "Alice"	<mailto:alice@work.example>
> "Bob"	(unbound)
>
>
> Now, consider, over the same data set, the following UNION query:
>
> UNION Query:
>
> PREFIX foaf: <http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/>
> SELECT ?name ?mbox
> WHERE  {    { ?x foaf:name  ?name }
>             UNION
>
>             { ?x foaf:name  ?name . ?x  foaf:mbox  ?mbox }
>        }
>
> UNION Query Result, as per (our understanding of the) current SPARQL
> working draft:
>
>
> name 	mbox
> "Alice" 	(unbound)
> "Bob" 	(unbound)
> "Alice" 	<mailto:alice@example.com>
> "Alice" 	<mailto:alice@work.example>
>
> where the first two rows match the first part of the UNION pattern,  
> and
> the second two rows match the second part.
>
> As can be seen, the results from the OPTIONAL and UNION queries are
> different only in that the UNION query allows a sub-graph of another
> solution, while OPTIONAL explicitly does not. While there is no
> requirement in SPARQL that the two queries presented above produce the
> same results, we argue that the implementation of query processors and
> optimizers for SPARQL would be made simpler if either OPTIONAL or  
> UNION
> is redefined so that both the queries above yield the same result -  
> and,
> therefore, so that OPTIONAL can be defined in terms of UNION as  
> follows:
>
> P1 OPTIONAL P2  = P1 UNION { P1 . P2}

In my opinion that would defeat the purpose of optional (http:// 
www.w3.org/TR/rdf-dawg-uc/#r3.6), if I say

--data--

:bobA :name "Bob" ;
       :phoneNumber "123456" .
:bobB :name "Bob" .

--query--

SELECT ?person ?phone
WHERE {
   ?person :name "Bob" .
   OPTIONAL {
     ?person :phoneNumber ?phone
   }
}

--results--

?person ?phone
:bobA   "123456"
:bobB

I want to get unbound results for ?phone iff there is no triple like
:bobA :phoneNumer "123456" .

- Steve
Received on Friday, 27 October 2006 15:10:05 GMT

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