Bidirectionalizing graph transformations

Soichiro Hidaka, Kazuhiro Inaba, Zhenjiang Hu, Hiroyuki Kato, Kazutaka Matsuda, Keisuke Nakano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Bidirectional transformations provide a novel mechanism for synchronizing and maintaining the consistency of information between input and output. Despite many promising results on bidirectional transformations, these have been limited to the context of relational or XML (tree-like) databases. We challenge the problem of bidirectional transformations within the context of graphs, by proposing a formal definition of a well-behaved bidirectional semantics for UnCAL, i.e., a graph algebra for the known UnQL graph query language. The key to our successful formalization is full utilization of both the recursive and bulk semantics of structural recursion on graphs. We carefully refine the existing forward evaluation of structural recursion so that it can produce sufficient trace information for later backward evaluation. We use the trace information for backward evaluation to reflect in-place updates and deletions on the view to the source, and adopt the universal resolving algorithm for inverse computation and the narrowing technique to tackle the difficult problem with insertion. We prove our bidirectional evaluation is well-behaved. Our current implementation is available online and confirms the usefulness of our approach with nontrivial applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-216
Number of pages12
JournalACM SIGPLAN Notices
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Sep
Externally publishedYes


  • Bidirectional transformation
  • Graph query and transformation
  • Structural recursion
  • View updating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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