Research topics

Information systems, in particular database management systems and information retrieval systems, have become a crucial IT-component in many businesses and organizations. Soft computing techniques can play an important role in extending facilities and effectiveness of such systems in order to make them better accessible and to cope with imperfection of the information dealt with herein, thereby explicitly considering the fact that information can be uncertain, imprecise, vaguely described, incomplete and/or inconsistent. Even if in the last 15 years data(base) modeling, database management, and database querying techniques as well as information retrieval modeling have been enriched and extended with soft computing methods, their potentials are still to be fully exploited. In particular, in this research context some hot topics are:

  • Flexible querying in the framework of both database management systems and information retrieval systems, notably search engines. The main aim is to make queries more human consistent, notably via the use of the elements of natural language. This is to make queries easier to formulate by the user and more expressive at the same time.
  • Object-oriented data modeling, considering the fact that the available information about objects could be imperfect. An important issue is that of object comparison where the content as well as the structure should be taken into account, both possibly tainted with imperfection.
  • Semi-structured data modeling, with a special emphasis on some XML-related techniques.
  • The use of thesauri and ontologies to enrich both information content and query representations, notably taking into account a gradual character of relations between the terms/concepts.
  • The modeling and management of (imperfect) temporal and spatial information. Temporal aspects are, among others, important to manage information archives. Spatial aspects play a role in the management of, e.g., geographical information.
  • The management of multimedia information. Hereby, it is, among others, studied how content based descriptions of texts, audio, images and video could be employed to compare and to inquire multimedia databases. Because of the fact that the features to describe contents are in some cases automatically extracted, imperfection of information must also be taken into account.
  • Intelligent information systems meant in a broad perspective as (a part of) decision support systems integrating all above mentioned techniques in order to provide the support for the decision maker.
  • Indexing and performance issues which are vital for the success of the developed soft computing based solutions.

The aim of the working group is to stimulate and to support basic and applied research on soft computing in database management and information retrieval. The working group plans to organize workshops, discussion forums and to undertake other activities aimed at advancing and promoting the research in this area.