Interactive Data Exploration with Smart Drill-Down

Manas Joglekar, Hector Garcia-Molina, Aditya Parameswaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present smart drill-down, an operator for interactively exploring a relational table to discover and summarize 'interesting' groups of tuples. Each group of tuples is described by a rule. For instance, the rule (a, b, \star, 1000) tells us that there are 1,000 tuples with value a in the first column and b in the second column (and any value in the third column). Smart drill-down presents an analyst with a list of rules that together describe interesting aspects of the table. The analyst can tailor the definition of interesting, and can interactively apply smart drill-down on an existing rule to explore that part of the table. We demonstrate that the underlying optimization problems are NP-Hard, and describe an algorithm for finding the approximately optimal list of rules to display when the user uses a smart drill-down, and a dynamic sampling scheme for efficiently interacting with large tables. Finally, we perform experiments on real datasets on our experimental prototype to demonstrate the usefulness of smart drill-down and study the performance of our algorithms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7885129
Pages (from-to)46-60
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Data exploration
  • data summarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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