Saturday, March 04, 2006

Jim Gray: An Interview with the "Database Legend"

MSDN's Channel 9 Forums released on March 3, 2006 a one-hour interview with Jim Gray, Technical Fellow of the Scaleable Servers Research Group and the manager of Microsoft Research's eSciences group at the Bay Area Research Center (BARC) in San Francisco. Jim probably is best known to the Web community for the TerraService and SkyServer databases, but his credentials as a database legend stem from his seminal work in transaction processing, concurrency, and scaleability theory and practice. Jim is editor of the Performance Handbook for Database and Transaction Processing Systems, co-author with Andreas Reuter of Transaction Processing Concepts and Techniques, and Editor of the Morgan Kaufmann series on Data Management. He won the Association for Computing Machinery's prestigious Turing Award in 1998 and the US Geological Survey's John Wesley Powell Award (with Tom Barclay) for TerraServer in 2000. (Jim and Tom discuss the TerraServer project starting at 46:50.) He also gained the title of Microsoft "Distinguished Engineer" in 2000. This episode is the second in Microsoft's fledgling "Behind the Code" interview series, which Channel9 describes as follows:

Occasionally the office of the CTO, David Vaskevitch, sits down with some of Microsoft’s most influential technical employees to capture their stories. Instead of examining specific technologies, BTC takes a closer look at the person, the career and what it takes to produce world-class software.
There's no explanation of how an "office ... sits down with .. technical employees," but the interviews differ greatly from Channel9's technically focused fare gathered with handheld camcorders. Barbara Fox, formerly Microsoft's senior security architect of cryptography and digital rights management, hosts the interviews, which are professionally produced and edited. (The credits for the Microsoft Studios crew were about as lengthy as that for the first episode—27 people.) The interviews eschew detailed technical coverage for insight into the subject's career, colleagues, and scientific or technical community before and during his or her employment by Microsoft. Other OakLeaf posts that refer to Jim Gray: Jim Gray Podcast About SQL Server 2005 (and Later) and Microsoft Web Services DevChannel Opens at FTPOnline (.NET Web services client for TerraServer.) From FTPOnline: Build Petabyte DBs With SQL Server (VSLive! 2002 keynote, slides and audio track), A Talk With Database Guru Jim Gray (February 2002 interview by Lee The), and SQL Server 2005 Amid DBMS Market Dynamics by Peter O'Kelly (November 2004).You can read more about the TerraService Web services client and download its Visual Basic .NET source code from my "Build Real-Time Web Images" article from the August 2004 issue of Visual Studio Magazine. Technorati: