Evaluating aggregate functions on possibilistic data
The need for extending information management systems to handle the imprecision of information found in the real world has been recognized. Fuzzy set theory together with possibility theory represent a uniform framework for extending the relational database model with these features. However, none of the existing proposals for handling imprecision in the literature has dealt with queries involving a functional evaluation of a set of items, traditionally referred to as aggregation. Two kinds of aggregate operators, namely, scalar aggregates and aggregate functions, exist. Both are important for most real-world applications, and are thus being supported by traditional languages like SQL or QUEL. This paper presents a framework for handling these two types of aggregates in the context of imprecise information. We consider three cases, specifically, aggregates within vague queries on precise data, aggregates within precisely specified queries on possibilistic data, and aggregates within vague queries on imprecise data. These extensions are based on fuzzy set-theoretical concepts such as the extension principle, the sigma-count operation, and the possibilistic expected value. The consistency and completeness of the proposed operations is shown.