Interactive Data Management and Data Analysis
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Everyone today has a big data problem. Data is everywhere and in different formats, they can be referred to as data lakes, data streams, or data swamps. To extract knowledge or insights from the data or to support decision-making, we need to go through a process of collecting, cleaning, managing and analyzing the data. In this process, data cleaning and data analysis are two of the most important and time-consuming components. One common challenge in these two components is a lack of interaction. The data cleaning and data analysis are typically done as a batch process, operating on the whole dataset without any feedback. This leads to long, frustrating delays during which users have no idea if the process is effective. Lacking interaction, human expert effort is needed to make decisions on which algorithms or parameters to use in the systems for these two components. We should teach computers to talk to humans, not the other way around. This dissertation focuses on building systems --- Mimir and CIA --- that help user conduct data cleaning and analysis through interaction. Mimir is a system that allows users to clean big data in a cost- and time-efficient way through interaction, a process I call on-demand ETL. Convergent inference algorithms (CIA) are a family of inference algorithms in probabilistic graphical models (PGM) that enjoys the benefit of both exact and approximate inference algorithms through interaction. Mimir provides a general language for user to express different data cleaning needs. It acts as a shim layer that wraps around the database making it possible for the bulk of the ETL process to remain within a classical deterministic system. Mimir also helps users to measure the quality of an analysis result and provides rankings for cleaning tasks to improve the result quality in a cost efficient manner. CIA focuses on providing user interaction through the process of inference in PGMs. The goal of CIA is to free users from the upfront commitment to either approximate or exact inference, and provide user more control over time/accuracy trade-offs to direct decision-making and computation instance allocations. This dissertation describes the Mimir and CIA frameworks to demonstrate that it is feasible to build efficient interactive data management and data analysis systems.