Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Computer Science

First Advisor

Vasant Honavar


Recent advances in computing, communications, and digital storage technologies, together with development of high throughput data acquisition technologies have made it possible to gather and store large volumes of data in digital form. These developments have resulted in unprecedented opportunities for large-scale data-driven knowledge acquisition with the potential for fundamental gains in scientific understanding (e.g., characterization of macromolecular structure-function relationships in biology) in many data-rich domains. In such applications, the data sources of interest are typically physically distributed, semantically heterogeneous and autonomously owned and operated, which makes it impossible to use traditional machine learning algorithms for knowledge acquisition.;However, we observe that most of the learning algorithms use only certain statistics computed from data in the process of generating the hypothesis that they output and we use this observation to design a general strategy for transforming traditional algorithms for learning from data into algorithms for learning from distributed data. The resulting algorithms are provably exact in that the classifiers produced by them are identical to those obtained by the corresponding algorithms in the centralized setting (i.e., when all of the data is available in a central location) and they compare favorably to their centralized counterparts in terms of time and communication complexity.;To deal with the semantical heterogeneity problem, we introduce ontology-extended data sources and define a user perspective consisting of an ontology and a set of interoperation constraints between data source ontologies and the user ontology. We show how these constraints can be used to define mappings and conversion functions needed to answer statistical queries from semantically heterogeneous data viewed from a certain user perspective. That is further used to extend our approach for learning from distributed data into a theoretically sound approach to learning from semantically heterogeneous data.;The work described above contributed to the design and implementation of AirlDM, a collection of data source independent machine learning algorithms through the means of sufficient statistics and data source wrappers, and to the design of INDUS, a federated, query-centric system for knowledge acquisition from distributed, semantically heterogeneous, autonomous data sources.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Doina Caragea



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

208 pages