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Brecheisen, Stefan (2007): Efficient and Effective Similarity Search on Complex Objects. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics
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Abstract

Due to the rapid development of computer technology and new methods for the extraction of data in the last few years, more and more applications of databases have emerged, for which an efficient and effective similarity search is of great importance. Application areas of similarity search include multimedia, computer aided engineering, marketing, image processing and many more. Special interest adheres to the task of finding similar objects in large amounts of data having complex representations. For example, set-valued objects as well as tree or graph structured objects are among these complex object representations. The grouping of similar objects, the so-called clustering, is a fundamental analysis technique, which allows to search through extensive data sets. The goal of this dissertation is to develop new efficient and effective methods for similarity search in large quantities of complex objects. Furthermore, the efficiency of existing density-based clustering algorithms is to be improved when applied to complex objects. The first part of this work motivates the use of vector sets for similarity modeling. For this purpose, a metric distance function is defined, which is suitable for various application ranges, but time-consuming to compute. Therefore, a filter refinement technology is suggested to efficiently process range queries and k-nearest neighbor queries, two basic query types within the field of similarity search. Several filter distances are presented, which approximate the exact object distance and can be computed efficiently. Moreover, a multi-step query processing approach is described, which can be directly integrated into the well-known density-based clustering algorithms DBSCAN and OPTICS. In the second part of this work, new application ranges for density-based hierarchical clustering using OPTICS are discussed. A prototype is introduced, which has been developed for these new application areas and is based on the aforementioned similarity models and accelerated clustering algorithms for complex objects. This prototype facilitates interactive semi-automatic cluster analysis and allows visual search for similar objects in multimedia databases. Another prototype extends these concepts and enables the user to analyze multi-represented and multi-instance data. Finally, the problem of music genre classification is addressed as another application supporting multi-represented and multi-instance data objects. An extensive experimental evaluation examines efficiency and effectiveness of the presented techniques using real-world data and points out advantages in comparison to conventional approaches.