Improved Histograms for Selectivity Estimation of Range Predicates
Viswanath Poosala
Yannis Ioannidis
Peter J. Haas
Eugene J. Shekita
Date published: 
Published In: 
Int’l ACM SIGMOD Conference, Montreal, Canada, May 1996, pp. 294-305
Conference Article

Many commercial database systems maintain histograms to summarize the contents of relations and permit efficient estimation of query result sizes and access plan costs. Although several types of histograms have been proposed in the past, there has never been a systematic study of all histogram aspects, the available choices for each aspect, and the impact of such choices on histogram effectiveness. In this paper, we provide a taxonomy of histograms that captures all previously proposed histogram types and indicates many new possibilities. We introduce novel choices for several of the taxonomy dimensions, and derive new histogram types by combining choices in effective ways. We also show how sampling techniques can be used to reduce the cost of histogram construction. Finally, we present results from an empirical study of the proposed histogram types used in selectivity estimation of range predicates and identify the histogram types that have the best overall performance.

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