Many web databases are "hidden" behind proprietary search interfaces that enforce the top-k output constraint, i.e., each query returns at most k of all matching tuples, preferentially selected and returned according to a proprietary ranking function. In this paper, we initiate research into the novel problem of skyline discovery over top-k hidden web databases. Since skyline tuples provide critical insights into the database and include the top-ranked tuple for every possible ranking function following the monotonic order of attribute values, skyline discovery from a hidden web database can enable a wide variety of innovative third-party applications over one or multiple web databases. Our research in the paper shows that the critical factor affecting the cost of skyline discovery is the type of search interface controls provided by the website. As such, we develop efficient algorithms for three most popular types, i.e., one-ended range, free range and point predicates, and then combine them to support web databases that feature a mixture of these types. Rigorous theoretical analysis and extensive real-world online and offline experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed techniques and their superiority over baseline solutions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science (miscellaneous)
- Computer Science(all)