The task of an <i>information integration system</i> is to combine data residing at different sources, providing the user with a unified view of them, called <i>global schema.</i> Users formulate queries over the global schema, and the system suitably queries the sources, providing an answer to the user, who is not obliged to have any information about the sources. Recent developments in IT such as the expansion of the Internet and the World Wide Web, have made available to users a huge number of information sources, generally autonomous, heterogeneous and widely distributed: as a consequence, information integration has emerged as a crucial issue in many application domains, e.g., distributed databases, cooperative information systems, data warehousing, or on-demand computing. Recent estimates view information integration to be a $10 Billion market by 2006 .
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