Functional Dependency Inference Problem (Dependency Inference Problem)

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The functional dependency inference problem is to find a cover for the set of functional dependencies that hold in a given relation.

A functional dependency (abbr. FD), $f$, is a statement $f: X \rightarrow Y$ where $X$ and $Y$ are sets of attributes. If $R(X, Y, \ldots)$ is a relation on a set of attributes that contains $X$ and $Y$, then $R$ obeys the FD $f$ if every two tuples of $R$ which have the same projection on $X$ also have the same projection on $Y$. Given $f: X \rightarrow Y$, we say that $f$ is a functional dependency from $X$ to $Y$, that $Y$ is functionally dependent on $X$ or that $X$ functionally determines $Y$. From the definition it follows that for each pair of sets $X$ and $Y$ there is at most one functional dependency from $X$ to $Y$. Therefore, we usually omit the name of the FD and write $X \rightarrow Y$.

Related Problems

Related: Multivalued Dependency Inference Problem


$n$: number of attributes

$p$: number of tuples/rows/data points

Table of Algorithms

Name Year Time Space Approximation Factor Model Reference
Brute force algorithm 1967 $O(n^{2} {2}^n p \log p)$ $O(n2^n)$? Exact Deterministic Time
Schlimmer 1993 $O(n {2}^n p)$ $O({2}^n)$ Exact Deterministic Time

Time Complexity Graph

Dependency Inference Problem - Functional Dependency Inference Problem - Time.png