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A System for Approximate Tree Matching
August 1994 (vol. 6 no. 4)
pp. 559-571

Ordered, labeled trees are trees in which each node has a label and the left-to-right order of its children (if it has any) is fixed. Such trees have many applications in vision, pattern recognition, molecular biology, programming compilation, and natural language processing. Many of the applications involve comparing trees or retrieving/extracting information from a repository of trees. Examples include classification of unknown patterns, analysis of newly sequenced RNA structures, semantic taxonomy for dictionary definitions, generation of interpreters for nonprocedural programming languages, and automatic error recovery and correction for programming languages. Previous systems use exact matching (or generalized regular expression matching) for tree comparison. This paper presents a system, called approximate-tree-by-example (ATBE), which allows inexact matching of trees. The ATBE system interacts with the user through a simple but powerful query language; graphical devices are provided to facilitate inputing the queries. The paper describes the architecture of ATBE, illustrates its use and describes some aspects of ATBE implementation. We also discuss the underlying algorithms and provide some sample applications.

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Index Terms:
trees (mathematics); tree data structures; search problems; query languages; database theory; approximate tree matching; labeled trees; vision; pattern recognition; molecular biology; programming compilation; natural language processing; RNA structures; semantic taxonomy; dictionary definitions; automatic error recovery; approximate-tree-by-example; query language
Citation:
J.T.-L. Wang, K. Zhang, K. Jeong, D. Shasha, "A System for Approximate Tree Matching," IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 559-571, Aug. 1994, doi:10.1109/69.298173
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