Efficient Answering of Historical What-if Queries

Felix S. Campbell, Bahareh Sadat Arab, Boris Glavic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We introduce historical what-if queries, a novel type of what-if analysis that determines the effect of a hypothetical change to the transactional history of a database. For example, "how would revenue be affected if we would have charged an additional $6 for shipping?"We develop efficient techniques for answering historical what-if queries, i.e., determining how a modified history affects the current database state. Our techniques are based on reenactment, a replay technique for transactional histories. We optimize this process using program and data slicing techniques that determine which updates and what data can be excluded from reenactment without affecting the result. Using an implementation of our techniques in Mahif (a Middleware for Answering Historical what-IF queries) we demonstrate their effectiveness experimentally.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSIGMOD 2022 - Proceedings of the 2022 International Conference on Management of Data
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781450392495
StatePublished - 10 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes
Event2022 ACM SIGMOD International Conference on the Management of Data, SIGMOD 2022 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: 12 Jun 202217 Jun 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM SIGMOD International Conference on Management of Data
ISSN (Print)0730-8078


Conference2022 ACM SIGMOD International Conference on the Management of Data, SIGMOD 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • program slicing
  • provenance
  • updates
  • what-if queries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems


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