Stochastic Skylines

Publication Type:
Journal Article
ACM Transactions on Database Systems, 2012, 37 (2), pp. 1 - 34
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In many applications involving multiple criteria optimal decision making, users may often want to make a personal trade-off among all optimal solutions for selecting one object that fits best their personal needs. As a key feature, the skyline in a multidimensional space provides the minimum set of candidates for such purposes by removing all points not preferred by any (monotonic) utility/scoring functions; that is, the skyline removes all objects not preferred by any user no matter how their preferences vary. Driven by many recent applications with uncertain data, the probabilistic skyline model is proposed to retrieve uncertain objects based on skyline probabilities. Nevertheless, skyline probabilities cannot capture the preferences of monotonic utility functions. Motivated by this, in this article we propose a novel skyline operator, namely stochastic skylines. In the light of the expected utility principle, stochastic skylines guarantee to provide the minimum set of candidates to optimal solutions over a family of utility functions. We first propose the lskyline operator based on the lower orthant orders. lskyline guarantees to provide the minimum set of candidates to the optimal solutions for the family of monotonic multiplicative utility functions. While lskyline works very effectively for the family of multiplicative functions, it may miss optimal solutions for other utility /scoring functions (e.g., linear functions). To resolve this, we also propose a general stochastic skyline operator, gskyline, based on the usual orders. gskyline provides the minimum candidate set to the optimal solutions for all monotonic functions.
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