Tobias Müller

Hello, my name is Tobias. I was a PhD student and postdoctoral researcher with the database systems department. You may contact me with interesting business ideas, job offers or questions about our (former) research.


Research Interests

We focus on data provenance for SQL. Data provenance is information about the origin and processing history of data.

One field of application is query debugging. Let C be a questionable data item (e.g., a table cell) which has been produced by a SQL query. Using techniques of data provenance, we trace back which input tables, rows and cells have contributed to C in the first place.

Here in Tübingen, we have developed a 2-step approach to provenance analysis based on the separation of concerns principle. This approach isolates i) data values and ii) provenance information from each other. Hence, the provenance derivation carried out in step ii) does not bother with (ordinary) data. Step ii) can put its focus solely on the task of provenance derivation. Advantages are a bigger SQL dialect, more fine-grained data provenance and faster provenance evaluation.

Below, my publication list is provided. You may also have a look at our project page.

Teaching Assistance

Academic Degrees

  • 2020: Dr. rer. nat. in computer science; Thesis
  • 2013: Diplom in computer science (similar to a master’s degree); Thesis

Short Biography

  • Apr 2013 - Feb 2022: Member of the Database Systems department @ University of Tübingen
  • Apr 2013 - Apr 2020: PhD candidate advised by Torsten Grust
  • Oct 2006 - Mar 2013: Student of computer science @ University of Tübingen
  • Oct 2003 - Sep 2006: Student of physics @ University of Tübingen


2019-2022: DFG-funded research project dedicated to data provenance

2017-2018: 1/2 of a Landesstelle and other sources

2013-2016: Member of the Wissenschaftscampus Tübingen of the cluster Peer Productivity in Web 2.0 Environments. Our cluster consisted of a mix of researchers from the fields of computer science, psychology and economics.

Recent Publications

Data Provenance for Recursive SQL Queries

Tobias MüllerTorsten GrustBenjamin Dietrich

Proceedings of 14th International Workshop on Theory and Practice of Provenance (TaPP 2022), collocated with SIGMOD 2022, Philadelphia, PA, USA, June 2022.

How, Where, and Why Data Provenance Improves Query Debugging -- A Visual Demonstration of Fine-Grained Provenance Analysis for SQL

Tobias Müller • Pascal Engel

Proceedings of the 38th IEEE Int’l Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE 2022), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, May 2022.

Detached Provenance Analysis

Tobias Müller

PhD Thesis, Universität Tübingen, 2020.

You Say ‘What’, I Hear ‘Where’ and ‘Why’ — (Mis-)Interpreting SQL to Derive Fine-Grained Provenance

Tobias MüllerBenjamin DietrichTorsten Grust

Proceedings of the 44th Int’l Conference on Very Large Databases. PVLDB 11(11), pages 1536–1549. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 2018.

How ‘How’ Explains What ‘What’ Computes — How-Provenance for SQL and Query Compilers

Daniel O'GradyTobias MüllerTorsten Grust

10th USENIX Workshop on Theory and Practise of Provenance (TaPP 2018), London, UK, July 2018.

Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too: Data Provenance for Turing-Complete SQL Queries

Tobias Müller

Proceedings of the VLDB 2016 PhD Workshop, New Delhi, India, September 2016.

The Best Bang for Your Bu(ck)g — When SQL Debugging and Data Provenance Go Hand in Hand

Benjamin DietrichTobias MüllerTorsten Grust

Proceedings of the 19th Int’l Conference on Extending Database Technology (EDBT 2016), Bordeaux, France, March 2016.

Where- und Why-Provenance für syntaktisch reiches SQL durch Kombination von Programmanalysetechniken

Tobias Müller

Proceedings of the 27th GI-Workshop Grundlagen von Datenbanken, Gommern, Germany, May 26-29, 2015.

Provenance for SQL Based on Abstract Interpretation: Value-less, but Worthwhile

Tobias MüllerTorsten Grust

Proceedings of the 41st Int’l Conference on Very Large Databases (VLDB 2015), Kohala Coast, Hawaii, USA, August 2015.

More Publications