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Re: Web survey to resolve ISSUE-29 on negation

From: Birte Glimm <birte.glimm@comlab.ox.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 7 May 2010 16:57:41 -0400
Message-ID: <u2o492f2b0b1005071357r6b600adaw64ce8947ef9284d8@mail.gmail.com>
To: Lee Feigenbaum <lee@thefigtrees.net>
Cc: SPARQL Working Group <public-rdf-dawg@w3.org>
Hi all,
I am really not sure what to go for in the survey because I still
don't really understand how the different proposals are supposed to
work. I tried to find out the semantics from the examples, but I
didn't really succeed.
The query spec contains this example for minus (prefix declarations
omitted here):
:alice  foaf:givenName "Alice" ;
        foaf:familyName "Smith" .
:bob    foaf:givenName "Bob" ;
        foaf:familyName "Jones" .
:carol  foaf:givenName "Carol" ;
        foaf:familyName "Smith" .
   ?s ?p ?o .
   MINUS {
      ?s :givenName "Bob" .
which I assume means foaf:givenName instead of :givenName.
and says the solution is

This is totally unclear to me. First, I don't understand whether we
are subtracting instantiated BGPs or whether we subtract solution
mappings. I think the latter and there is some compatibility
Just for the sake of it though, lets first assume we subtract
instantiated triples. Then I would first find all the solutions not
looking at the minus part and get
{ (?s/:alice, ?p/foaf:givenName, ?o/"Alice")
  (?s/:alice, ?p/foaf:familyName, ?o/"Smith"),
  (?s/:bob, ?p/foaf:givenName, ?o/"Bob"),
  .... }
Then I look at bindings for the pattern in the minus part, which only gives:
{ (?s/:bob) }
Then I just take the set of instantiated patterns for the non-minus
part and do a set minus with the instantiated patterns from the second
part, e.g.,
{ :alice foaf:givenName "Alice", :alice foaf:familyName "Smith", :bob
foaf:givenName "Bob", ... }
setminus { :bob foaf:givenName "Bob" }
which just removes one triple/solution, namely
(?s/:bob, ?p/foaf:givenName, ?o/"Bob"). That is different from what
the spec example suggests because after the projection I would get

Is that a mistake in the example? Anyway, I don't think that is what
we do for minus and not even for minus as a filter.

Lets therefore assume that we subtract bindings. In this case, we of
course have the problem of what happens with incompatible bindings,
e.g., I could say that here the minus is not subtracting anything
because the first binding set has bindings for ?s, ?p, and ?o, whereas
the minus part has just bindings for ?s. Then I would have :alice,
:bob, and :carole all twice in the result.
I could also say that if the minus part does not provide bindings for
variables, I treat them as wild cards, e.g., from
{ (?s/:alice, ?p/foaf:givenName, ?o/"Alice")
  (?s/:alice, ?p/foaf:familyName, ?o/"Smith"),
  (?s/:bob, ?p/foaf:givenName, ?o/"Bob"),
  .... }
I subtract
{ (?s/:bob, ?p/*, ?o/*) }
which leaves me with
{ (?s/:alice, ?p/foaf:givenName, ?o/"Alice")
  (?s/:alice, ?p/foaf:familyName, ?o/"Smith"),
  (?s/:carol, ?p/foaf:givenName, ?o/"Carol"),
  (?s/:carol, ?p/foaf:familyName ?o/"Smith")
which is again not what the exemplary answer is. Maybe I don't have
enough fantasy, but I cannot come up with any semantics that explains
the example answer. If the example is wrong, is any of my semantics
what we are going to do?

For Lee's examples this works, but I still don't get what happens for
MINUS occurring before anything else.
:Lee a foaf:Person ; :hairColor "brown" .
:OtherLee a foaf:Person ; :hairColor "blond" .
Query 4B:
   MINUS { ?s :hairColor "brown" }
   ?s a foaf:Person .

Now Lee says we get:
identity solution - { { (?s, :Lee) }, { (?s, :OtherLee) } }
I don't really understand that. Even if we have first the identity
solution, from which we can nothing subtract, we still need to join it
with the mappings for ?s a foaf:Person, which will give an empty
solution. My personal feeling is that the order among the triple
patterns should not matter. Now I am not sure if MINUS implicitly
splits the BGP into 2 parts and forces me to fist look at the stuff
that comes before the minus and then subtract stuff and then joint it
with the rest or whether I can take all positive/non-minus parts, find
mappings for them and then see for which mappings the MINUS part
evaluates to true and take those mappings out.
1) Take the identity solution, subtract from it some triples (whatever
does not really matter because we always end up with the identity
solution unless we subtract just that), then join mappings for ?s from
?s a foaf:Person?
2) Start with all possible bindings for ?s (?s/:Lee, ?s/foaf:Person,
?s/:hairColor, ?s/:OtherLee,...) and then take those out for which the
?s binding is such that s-binding :hairColor "brown" is in the active
graph, which removes ?s/:Lee and then take all out for which s-binding
a foaf:Person is not in the graph, which leaves us with ?s/:OtherLee.
This is order-independant, but probably not really what is really
being envisaged.

All in all, I am too confused to really judge :-(


On 7 May 2010 11:18, Lee Feigenbaum <lee@thefigtrees.net> wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> As promised, I've setup a Web survey that we will use to resolve ISSUE-29,
> the question of how to fulfill our negation deliverable from our charter.
> The survey is at:
> http://www.w3.org/2002/09/wbs/35463/Negation/
> Please note:
>  * As this survey is a formal Working Group decision, only one response may
> be submitted per organization. If your organization has multiple WG members,
> please work together and submit a single response.
>  * The results of the survey will be binding. As always, we may revisit the
> issue in the future if we come across new information. If the results do not
> resolve the issue (i.e. there is not a majority or clear plurality), the
> Chairs will decide the issue.
>  * When submitting your choice, you have the option of having a copy of your
> choice sent to this mailing list.
>  * As with all of our group's business, the survey and its results are
> publicly visible.
>  * As with any group decision, WG members are welcome to avail themselves of
> the W3C formal objection process if the group's decision is unsatisfactory
> to their organization.
>  * The survey will be open through Monday, May 17.
> Lee

Dr. Birte Glimm, Room 306
Computing Laboratory
Parks Road
United Kingdom
+44 (0)1865 283529
Received on Friday, 7 May 2010 20:58:14 GMT

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