, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 73-96

Database Integration Using Neural Networks: Implementation and Experiences

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Applications in a wide variety of industries require access to multiple heterogeneous distributed databases. One step in heterogeneous database integration is semantic integration: identifying corresponding attributes in different databases that represent the same real world concept. The rules of semantic integration can not be ‘pre-programmed’ since the information to be accessed is heterogeneous and attribute correspondences could be fuzzy. Manually comparing all possible pairs of attributes is an unreasonably large task. We have applied artificial neural networks (ANNs) to this problem. Metadata describing attributes is automatically extracted from a database to represent their ‘signatures’. The metadata is used to train neural networks to find similar patterns of metadata describing corresponding attributes from other databases. In our system, the rules to determine corresponding attributes are discovered through machine learning. This paper describes how we applied neural network techniques in a database integration problem and how we represent an attribute with its metadata as discriminators. This paper focuses on our experiments on effectiveness of neural networks and each discriminator. We also discuss difficulties of using neural networks for this problem and our wish list for the Machine Learning community.