Fuzzy Queries in Multimedia Database Systems

Ron Fagin
IBM Almaden Research Center


There are essential differences between multimedia databases (which may contain complicated objects, such as images), and traditional databases. These differences lead to interesting new issues, and in particular cause us to consider new types of queries. For example, in a multimedia database it is reasonable and natural to ask for images that are somehow "similar to" some fixed image. Furthermore, there are different ways of obtaining and accessing information in a multimedia database than information in a traditional database. For example, in a multimedia database, it might be reasonable to have a query that asks for, say, the top 10 images that are similar to a fixed image. This is in contrast to a relational database, where the answer to a query is simply a set. In this talk, we survey some new issues that arise for multimedia queries. This talk, which will be completely self-contained, was an invited talk at the 1998 ACM Symposium on Principles of Database Systems.


Ronald Fagin is manager of the Foundations of Computer Science group at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. He received his B.A. degree in mathematics from Dartmouth College in 1967 and his Ph.D. in mathematics, with his thesis in finite-model theory, from the University of California at Berkeley in 1973.