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Vast amounts of life sciences data reside today in specialized data sources, with specialized query processing capabilities. Data from one source often must be combined with data from other sources to give users the information they desire. There are database middleware systems that extract data from multiple sources in response to a single query. IBM's DiscoveryLink is one such system, targeted to applications from the life sciences industry. DiscoveryLink provides users with a virtual database to which they can pose arbitrarily complex queries, even though the actual data needed to answer the query may originate from several different sources, and none of those sources, by itself, is capable of answering the query. We describe the DiscoveryLink offering, focusing on two key elements, the wrapper architecture and the query optimizer, and illustrate how it can be used to integrate the access to life sciences data from heterogeneous data sources.
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