Decision support systems are mainly based on multidimensional modeling. Using On-Line Analytical Processing (OLAP) tools, decision makers navigate through and analyze multidimensional data. Typically, users need to analyze data at different aggregation levels, using OLAP operators such as roll-up and drill-down. Roll-up operators decrease the details of the measure, aggregating it along the dimension hierarchy. Conversely, drill-down operators increase the details of the measure. As a consequence, dimensions hierarchies play a central role in knowledge representation. More precisely, since aggregation hierarchies are widely used to support data aggregation, aggregation knowledge should be adequately represented in conceptual multidimensional models, and mapped in subsequent logical and physical models. However, current conceptual multidimensional models poorly represent aggregation knowledge, which (1) has a complex structure and dynamics and (2) is highly contextual. In order to account for the characteristics of this knowledge, we propose to represent it with objects and rules. Static aggregation knowledge is represented using UML class diagrams, while rules, which represent the dynamics (i.e. how aggregation may be performed depending on context), are represented using the Production Rule Representation (PRR) language. The latter allows us to incorporate dynamic aggregation knowledge. We argue that this representation of aggregation knowledge allows an early modeling of user requirements in a decision support system project. In order to illustrate the applicability and benefits of our approach, we exemplify the production rules and present an application scenario.
Prat, Nicolas; Wattiau, Isabelle; and Akoka, Jacky, "Representation of Aggregation Knowledge in OLAP Systems" (2010). ECIS 2010 Proceedings. 71.