Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 4636, 2007, pp 1-153

Foundations of Rule-Based Query Answering

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This survey article introduces into the essential concepts and methods underlying rule-based query languages. It covers four complementary areas: declarative semantics based on adaptations of mathematical logic, operational semantics, complexity and expressive power, and optimisation of query evaluation.

The treatment of these areas is foundation-oriented, the foundations having resulted from over four decades of research in the logic programming and database communities on combinations of query languages and rules. These results have later formed the basis for conceiving, improving, and implementing several Web and Semantic Web technologies, in particular query languages such as XQuery or SPARQL for querying relational, XML, and RDF data, and rule languages like the “Rule Interchange Framework (RIF)” currently being developed in a working group of the W3C.

Coverage of the article is deliberately limited to declarative languages in a classical setting: issues such as query answering in F-Logic or in description logics, or the relationship of query answering to reactive rules and events, are not addressed.