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Classical work on query optimization has not taken account of the topology of distributed database networks as a cost factor in executing standard operations in relational algebra. Here the authors report research findings designed to help remedy this deficiency. In particular, they examine the relative costs of query optimization in a network whose topology (e.g., a hypercube) is known and in a network (e.g., a Gaian database under preferential attachment) whose topology is unknown. The critical factor in the advantage of a well defined topology is that the cost of determining pairwise distances between the nodes involved in a join operation is substantially lower than it is in a network whose topology is unknown.
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