Research Problems for Spatial Databases

This docuement has two sections. Consider scrolling down to appropriate sub-section if the entire document is not of interest. First part describes three cateroies of projects, namely Second part lists dozens of specific projects grouped in following topics:

1. Categories of Research Projects

There are three categories of projects, namely, statistical term-papers, survey papers and software implementation/demonstration projects. General description of the three categories appear in this subsection.

Specific projects under each categories can be found from different sources. My own research interests lie in the area of spatial databases and spatial data mining. Some of the current projects in this area are listed at Problems of Current Interest. Some of the open problems are listed at in the second part of this document. You are welcome to chose a project related to these problems and interact with the spatial database research group.

Other faculty members with reesarch projects in database and data mining area include Prof. Vipin Kumar, Prof. George Karypis, Prof. John Carlis, Prof. Jaideep Srivastava, and Prof. John Riedl. You are encouraged to visit them and browse their web-pages to learn about their research projects. You may find interesting ideas for course projects this way.

1.1 A Sample Statistical Literature Analysis Term-Paper

Statistical summary of the publication activity by topics and year is often valuable to get the big-picture of research activities in areas with vast literature. Projects in this category will collect data about publications and statistically summarize the publication activity across different research topics (or validation methodologies used) in spatial database forums in last 5 to 10 years. Example papers reporting such results include Walter F. Tichy, Paul Lukowicz, Lutz Prechelt, Ernst A. Heinz. Experimental Evaluation in Computer Science: A Quantitative Study. Journal of Systems and Software 28(1):9-18, January 1995. , Lutz Prechelt. Some Notes on Neural Learning Algorithm Benchmarking. Neurocomputing 9(3):343-347, December 1995. , etc. Databases about published books (e.g. ) and refereed journal/conference publications (e.g. DBLP , citeseer ) as well as journal (e.g. IEEE TKDE , GeoInformatica Journal , IJGIS ) and conference proceedins (e.g. VLDB , SIGMOD , CIKM/ACMGIS , IEEE DE Bulletin , SSD ) are available on the web. You can choose a sample subset of publication forms and collect data via an internet crawler. It may be helpful to prepare a summary chart, spatial visualizations and other diagrams to show the change in number of publications on each topic by the year in conferences and journals. Similar statistics on the methodology of choice would be useful. You are welcome of think of informative statistical (and data mining, knowledge discovery) tools and techniques to highlight trends. The term paper should document the major results as well as the data collection and analysis procedures.

An example of possible results is shown in Figure 3 in C. H. Papadimitriou, Database Metatheory: Asking the Big Queries, Proceeding of 1995 Conference on Principles of Database Systems, ACM SIGMOD (reproduced on pages 656 of 3rd edition of Readings in Database Systems, Edited by M. Stonebraker and J. M. Hellerstein, Morgan Kauffman, ISBN 1-55860-523-1). More general analysis related to cross-citations include Impact factor (essay) , and journal ratings .

1.2 Survey Papers

Survey the publications within a specific research topics within database forums in last 5 to 10 years. Sample topics include topics within spatial databases such as conceptual modelling of spatial data, indexing and querying collections of moving objects, vector map compression, spatial data mining, spatio-temporal databases, mobile and wireless spatial databases, spatial data warehouses, internet based spatial databases, semantic web, homeland security, using spatial indexes for content based retrieval, etc. You may find more topics from the call for papers (see Symposium on Spatial Databases, or ACM Workshop on GIS, UCGIS Research Agenda websites) from latest conferences on databases. You may consider updating a recent survey paper. This will reduce your literature survey work to the publications since the selected survey paper was prepared (usually a year before publication). UCGIS has a set of short position papers on emerging topics in spatial databases and Geographhic Information Systems. Extensive sources for survey papers include ACM Computing Surveys, IEEE Computer (e.g. Embedded Databases survey in 9/2000 issue), and Communications of the ACM. A recent issue of IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Eng. (January 1999) also featured a number of survey papers on spatial database topics. Conferences often feature tutorials on special topics and the notes (if available) can be useful sources. Another worhtwhile project is to create/update bibliography for papers in spatial databases, spatial data mining and related topics. The term paper should summarize major accomplishments and next challanges. The format of the survey paper may resemble those used in survey papers presented in prestigious computer science journals mentioned above.

1.3 Sample Software Demo Projects

The research aspects of software demo project may be structured by addressing the following questions:

1.4 Other Creative Projects

2. Research Problems in Spatial Databases

I taught Csci 8705 (Spatial Databases) in Fall 2001 and Csci 8701 (Overview of Database Research) in Fall 2000. These courses provided an opportunity to identify research needs within spatial databases. Some of these problems are listed below categorized into following topics:
  1. Assorted Problems
  2. Past, Present and Future of Database Research
  3. Benchmarking
  4. Data Models and Query Languages
  5. Storage and Indexing
  6. Query Optimization
  7. Transactions, Recovery
  8. Concurrency Control
  9. Distributed and Parallel Databases
  10. Data Warehouse
  11. Spatial Networks
  12. Data Mining
  13. Rastor Data

These problems are suitable for course projects leading to MS and PhD thesis. Interested researchers are encouraged to contact me via email or during office hours.

2.1 Assorted Problems

2.2 Past, Present and Future of Database Research

2.3 Benchmarking

2.4 Data Models and Query Languages

2.5 Storage and Indexing

2.6 Query Optimization

2.7 Transactions, Recovery

2.8 Concurrency Control

2.9 Distributed and Parallel Databases

2.10 Data Warehouse

2.11 Spatial Networks

2.12 Data Mining

2.13 Rastor Data