Data analysis applications typically aggregate data across many dimensions looking for unusual patterns in data. Even though such applications are usually possible with standard structured query language (SQL) queries, the queries may become very complex. A complex query may result in many scans of the base table, leading to poor performance. Because online analytical processing (OLAP) queries are usually complex, it is desired to define a new operator for aggregation, called the data cube or simply cube.
Data cube supports OLAP tasks like aggregation and sub-totals. Many aggregate functions can be used to construct a data cube. Those functions can be classified into three categories, the distributive, the algebraic, and the holistic. It has been thought that the distributive functions such as SUM, COUNT, MAX, and MIN can be used to construct a data cube, and also the algebraic function such as AVG can be used if the function is replaced to an intermediate function. It is believed that even though AVG is not distributive, but the intermediate function (SUM, COUNT) is distributive, and AVG can certainly be computed from (SUM, COUNT).
In this paper, however, it is found that the intermediate function (SUM, COUNT) cannot be applied to OLAP cubes, and consequently the function leads to erroneous conclusions and decisions. The objective of this study is to identify some problems in applying aggregate function AVG to OLAP cubes, and to design a process for solving these problems.