Estimation of Query-Result Distribution and its Application in Parallel-Join Load Balancing
Viswanath Poosala
Yannis Ioannidis
Date published: 
Published In: 
22nd Int’l VLDB Conference, Bombay, India, Sept. 1996, pp. 448-459
Conference Article

Many commercial database systems use some form of statistics, typically histograms, to summarize the contents of relations and permit efficient estimation of required quantities. While there has been considerable work done on identifying good histograms for the estimation of query-result sizes, little attention has been paid to the estimation of the data distribution of the result, which is of importance in query optimization. In this paper, we prove that the optimal histogram for estimating the size of the result of a join operator is optimal for estimating its data distribution as well. We also study the effectiveness of these optimal histograms in the context of an important application that requires estimates for the data distribution of a query result: load-balancing for parallel Hybrid hash joins. We derive a cost formula to capture the effect of data skew in both the input and output relations on the load and use the optimal histograms to estimate this cost most accurately. We have developed and implemented a load balancing algorithm using these histograms on a simulator for the Gamma parallel database system. The experiments establish the superiority of this approach compared to earlier ones in handling all kinds and levels of skew while incurring negligible overhead.

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