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Query answer authentication
Pang H., Tan K., Morgan&Claypool Publishers, San Rafael, CA, 2012. 104 pp. Type: Book (978-1-608457-65-6)
Date Reviewed: Dec 3 2012

Query response authentication focuses on defining the correctness of a query’s answer. It considers the query response in terms of completeness and authenticity, among other things. For example, a query response about the research of a particular climate scientist should provide a complete listing of the scientist’s work, and the response should be similar to what would be given by the scientist himself.

Pang and Tan have put together a sound and thorough discussion of query response authentication. This publication is part of a series of Synthesis Lectures on Data Management published by Morgan and Claypool since 2009. The book is well organized and flows nicely. I found it easy to follow. The material is presented in seven chapters, with chapter 7 serving as a summary.

Chapters 1 and 2, “Introduction” and “Cryptography Foundation,” provide the organizational framework for the subsequent material. Cryptographic protocols and time measurements for key constructs are provided in this section. The bibliography for this material is extensive.

Relational queries are presented in chapter 3, with a discussion of methods for authenticating the answers of several relational operations, including range selection, projection, equi-join, and range aggregation. As noted by the authors, the methods are effective for range selection and projection. However, the same cannot be said for equi-join and aggregation. These are points of discussion in the chapter.

Chapter 4, “Spatial Queries,” focuses on authenticating answers for queries on outsourced spatial databases. Query types investigated include window, range, k-nearest neighbor (kNN), and reverse nearest neighbor (RNN) queries. Most of these integrate relational authentication methods such as the Merkle hash tree.

Text search queries are addressed in chapter 5. Particular attention is paid to verifying query results. Pang and Tan have focused their measurements on the inclusion of the most relevant documents, ranked correctly, and the absence of spurious entries.

Data streams are the last topic to be discussed. Chapter 6 focuses on electronic services such as stock trading, online bidding, and environmental monitoring, including monitoring of arrivals and updates.

To a large degree, the authors bring a quality management focus to query processing and authentication, highlighting several emerging trends that are worth pursuing. Query execution assurance, queries with encrypted data, and data publishing models are examined. As noted earlier, the authors have provided an excellent bibliography on the topic. Their diagrams are easy to follow and appropriately placed. This is a good publication for researchers and teachers of database management and query techniques.

Reviewer:  Robert M. Lynch Review #: CR140713 (1303-0190)
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