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Provenance is information recording the source, derivation, or history of some information. Provenance tracking has been studied in a variety of settings, particularly database management systems; however, although many candidate definitions of provenance have been proposed, the mathematical or semantic foundations of data provenance have received comparatively little attention. In this paper, the authors argue that dependency analysis techniques familiar from program analysis and program slicing provide a formal foundation for forms of provenance that are intended to show how (part of) the output of a query depends on (parts of) its input.
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