A theory of specialization constraints for complex objects
Most semantic data models and object-oriented data models allow entity and object classes to be organized according to a generalization taxonomy. In addition, range restrictions (or property typing) may be specified not only on properties associated with a given class, but also on properties inherited from superclasses. In this paper, we consider a more general form of specialization constraint in which range restrictions are associated with property value paths, instead of with the properties themselves. One consequence is that the constraints enable a form of molecular abstraction, in which the internals of more complicated objects can be defined in terms of a collection of more primitive types. Sound and complete axiomatizations are given for two models: one not assuming a most specialized class rule (MSC), and another satisfying MSC together with an additional almost lower semilattice condition. Efficient decision procedures for both cases are also presented.
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