Seminars & Colloquia

Guy Lohman

IBM Almaden Research Center

"Is (Your) Database Research Having Impact?"

Wednesday May 02, 2007 11:00 AM
Location: 3211, EBII NCSU Centennial Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)

This talk is part of the Taming the Data Seminar series


Abstract: Is your database research having real impact? Then why is most of the world's data still not stored in databases? Weren't the object-relational extensions of the late 80s supposed to rectify this by enabling storage of unstructured and semi-structured data, as well as structured data? The ultimate test of the research done by this community is acceptance in the marketplace, i.e. incorporation into products that bring value to the purchaser. Merely publishing papers and getting them referenced has no intrinsic value unless the ideas therein are eventually used by someone. So let us ask ourselves candidly "is (my) database research having (positive) impact?" Have the "hot topics" of the past withstood the test of time by actually being used in products that sold? If so, what characteristics were instrumental in their success? And if not, why did something that got so many people excited fail to gain traction with users? Perhaps more importantly, what can we learn from our track record of the past in order to have better impact in the future? How can we better serve our user community by solving their real problems, not the ones we may imagine?

My assessment is that our success has depended upon the consumability of our technology: how well it meets a customer need, how simple it is to understand and use, and how well standardization has stabilized its acceptance across vendors. I will give several examples, both positive and negative, and give suggestions of challenging research that will have a huge impact on the future of databases and plays to our strengths as a community.

(Note: This talk is derived from a keynote to be delivered at DASFAA 2007 in Bangkok.)

Short Bio: Dr. Guy M. Lohman is Manager of Advanced Optimization and Autonomic Computing in the Advanced Database Solutions Department at IBM Research Division's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California, where he has worked for 25 years. He is the architect of the Query Optimizer of DB2 on the Linux, UNIX, and Windows platforms, and was responsible for its development in Versions 2 and 5, as well as the invention and prototyping of Visual Explain and efficient sampling in DB2. During that period, Dr. Lohman also managed the overall effort to incorporate into that DB2 product the Starburst compiler technology that was prototyped at the Almaden Research Center. More recently, he was a co-inventor and designer of the DB2 Index Advisor (now part of the Design Advisor), and co-founder of the DB2 Autonomic Computing project, part of IBM's company-wide Autonomic Computing initiative. Most recently (2004-2006), he was responsible for the design of the extensions to DB2 to optimize XQuery queries in DB2 V9. In 2002, Dr. Lohman was elected to the IBM Academy of Technology. His current research interests involve query optimization, self-managing database systems, information management appliances, and problem determination.

Host: Rada Chirkova, Computer Science, NCSU

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