Extending Practical Pre-Aggregation in On-Line Analytical Processing

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On-Line Analytical Processing (OLAP) based on a dimensional view of data is being used increasingly in traditional business applications as well as in applications such as health care for the purpose of analyzing very large amounts of data. Pre-aggregation, the prior materialization of aggregate queries for later use, is an essential technique for ensuring adequate response time during data analysis. Full pre-aggregation, where all combinations of aggregates are materialized, is infeasible. Instead, modern OLAP systems adopt the \textit{practical pre-aggregation} approach of materializing only select combinations of aggregates and then re-use these for efficiently computing other aggregates. However, this re-use of aggregates is contingent on the dimension hierarchies and the relationships between facts and dimensions satisfying stringent constraints. This severely limits the scope of the practical pre-aggregation approach. This paper significantly extends the scope of practical pre-aggregation to cover a much wider range of realistic situations. Specifically, algorithms are given that transform ``irregular'' dimension hierarchies and fact-dimension relationships, which often occur in real-world OLAP applications, into well-behaved structures that, when used by existing OLAP systems, enable practical pre-aggregation. The algorithms have low computational complexity and may be applied incrementally to reduce the cost of updating OLAP structures.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDepartment of Computer Science
PublisherAalborg Universitetsforlag
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 1999
SeriesTechnical Report

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