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From: Eric Prud'hommeaux <eric@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 2009 16:04:55 -0400
To: public-rdf-dawg@w3.org
Message-ID: <20090706200455.GE6387@w3.org>
I've been noodling on this for a while, trying to see practical
differences between MINUS (evaluated purely bottom-up) and UNSAID
(which appears to seed the outermost BGP with variable bindings from

I implemented UNSAID probably 6 years ago in Algae2, and I complained
bitterly that the bottom-up semantics of SPARQL were confusing for
users. Despite that, I have to say that MINUS is much more clear to me
as UNSAID carries variable bindings into nested evaluations in ways I
don't fully understand.

Following are some thought experiments (doing subtraction by hand):

Data D1: { :a1 :p1 :b1 ; 
               :p2 :c1 . 
           :c1 :p3 :b2 }

Query M1: { ?a :p1 ?b MINUS { ?a :p2 ?c . ?c :p3 ?b } }
  ?a ?b - ?a ?b ?c = ?a ?b
  a1 b1   a1 b2 c1   a1 b1
Result M1: ?a ?b
           a1 b1

Query M2: { ?a :p1 ?b MINUS { ?a :p2 ?c OPTIONAL { ?c :p3 ?b } } }
  ?a ?b - ?a ?b ?c = ?a ?b
  a1 b1   a1 b2 c1   a1 b1
Result M2: ?a ?b
           a1 b1

AndyS performed these on ARQ's UNSAID implementation:

Query U1: { ?a :p1 ?b UNSAID { ?a :p2 ?c . ?c :p3 ?b } }
Result U1: ?a ?b
           a1 b1

Query U2: { ?a :p1 ?b UNSAID { ?a :p2 ?c OPTIONAL { ?c :p3 ?b } } }
Result U2: ?a ?b  # no bindings

AndyS, could you tell me what you get when you try Query U2 on:?
Data D2: { :a1 :p1 :b1 ; 
               :p2 :c1 } # no :p3 arc
I expect the same as U2.

Looking for real-world questions which would elicit these differences:

Data D3
_:eric :givenname "eric"; :holdsAccout <act1>. <act1> :accountName "eric".
_:bobS :givenname "bob" ; :holdsAccout <act2>. <act2> :accountName "bobs".
_:eve  :givenname "eve" ; :holdsAccout <act3>.
 or in tabular form for brevity:
        givenname holdsAccount accountName
 _:eric "eric"    <act1>       "eric"
 _:bobS "bob"     <act2>       "bobs"
 _:eve  "eve"     <act3>

Find the folks for whom I need to create accounts based on their given name:

Query M3: 
?who foaf:givenname ?name
  ?who foaf:holdsAccount ?act 
    ?act foaf:accountName ?name .
Result M3:
?who   ?name    ?who   ?act   ?name    ?who   ?name 
_:eric "eric"   _:eric <act1> "eric"   _:bobS "bob" 
_:bobS "bob"  - _:bobS <act2> "bobS" = _:eve  "eve" 
_:eve  "eve"    _:eve  <act3>	       

Query U3: 
?who foaf:givenname ?name
  ?who foaf:holdsAccount ?act 
    ?act foaf:accountName ?name .

Result U3 (extrapolated from UNSAID results above):
?who   ?nam  
_:eve  "eve" 

Note, these are untested, please verify.

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Received on Monday, 6 July 2009 20:05:37 UTC

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