Skyline queries extract interesting points that are non-dominated and help paint the bigger picture of the data in question. They are valuable in many multi-criteria decision applications and are becoming a staple of decision support systems.
An assumption commonly made by many skyline algorithms is that a skyline query is applied to a single static data source or data stream. Unfortunately, this assumption does not hold in many applications in which a skyline query may involve attributes belonging to multiple data sources and requires a join operation to be performed before the skyline can be produced. Recently, various skyline-join algorithms have been proposed to address this problem in the context of static data sources. However, these algorithms suffer from several drawbacks: they often need to scan the data sources exhaustively to obtain the skyline-join results; moreover, the pruning techniques employed to eliminate tuples are largely based on expensive tuple-to-tuple comparisons. On the other hand, most data stream techniques focus on single stream skyline queries, thus rendering them unsuitable for skyline-join queries.
Another assumption typically made by most of the earlier skyline algorithms is that the data is complete and all skyline attribute values are available. Due to this constraint, these algorithms cannot be applied to incomplete data sources in which some of the attribute values are missing and are represented by NULL values. There exists a definition of dominance for incomplete data, but this leads to undesirable consequences such as non-transitive and cyclic dominance relations both of which are detrimental to skyline processing.
Based on the aforementioned observations, the main goal of the research described in this dissertation is the design and development of a framework of skyline operators that effectively handles three distinct types of skyline queries: 1) skyline-join queries on static data sources, 2) skyline-window-join queries over data streams, and 3) strata-skyline queries on incomplete datasets. This dissertation presents the unique challenges posed by these skyline queries and addresses the shortcomings of current skyline techniques by proposing efficient methods to tackle the added overhead in processing skyline queries on static data sources, data streams, and incomplete datasets.