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What we talk about when we talk about graphs

  • Speaker: Dr George Fletcher, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands.
  • Date: Tuesday, 4 March 2014 from 16:30 to 17:40
  • Location: Room 745, Birkbeck Main Building

An old idea from the humanistic sciences has it that the language we use not only restricts the manner in which we view the world, but also, in a very real sense, shapes the world around us. Recently, my colleagues and I have been exploring the interesting ways in which this idea manifests itself in data management. In particular, we have been studying the expressive power of graph query languages with a focus on characterizing the ability of languages to restrict and shape concrete graph instances, purely in terms of the structure of the instances.

In this talk, I will start with a brief recap of the history of such structural characterizations of query languages. I will then introduce the theoretical framework we have been developing for reasoning over graph structured data, and discuss how we put the framework to work with the design of structural indexes for (RDF) graphs, to support efficient query evaluation over massive graphs. Finally, I will conclude with a discussion of broader applications of the framework in data management and indications for further research.