The PADS project: An overview

Kathleen Fisher, David Walker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

31 Scopus citations


The goal of the PADS project, which started in 2001, is to make it easier for data analysts to extract useful information from ad hoc data files. This paper does not report new results, but rather gives an overview of the project and how it helps bridge the gap between the unmanaged world of ad hoc data and the managed world of typed programming languages and databases. In particular, the paper reviews the design of PADS data description languages, describes the generated parsing tools and discusses the importance of meta-data. It also sketches the formal semantics, discusses useful tools and how can they can be generated automatically from PADS descriptions, and describes an inferencing system that can learn useful PADS descriptions from positive examples of the data format.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDatabase Theory - ICDT 2011
Subtitle of host publication14th International Conference on Database Theory, Proceedings
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781450305297
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • Ad hoc data
  • Data description languages
  • Domain-specific languages


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