SIGMOD/PODS at Athens
PODS 2011 (a database theory conference called Principles Of Database Systems) has 1 plenary talk and 2 invited tutorials. I gave a tutorial on data streams research. My talk slides are here. It is difficult to present a tutorial on an area in 1 hour, and in particular, on a topic like data streams that has seen a lot of research, and in many different communities. My tutorial presented one technique (count-min sketch) and its applications, and emphasized the role of database community on this area (slide 32). The question of one pass computing, the motivation for dealing with large data streams, and most important for me, systems that actually use streaming in practice and validate the research effort of nearly two decades, all came from this community. I argued that their questions and drive eventually led to not only good theory of CS but also impact outside CS such as in signal processing community, where to at least some extent, compressed sensing results could be obtained by applying the count-min sketch. I would like to believe that this is a new vantage for the database community to value their technical impact (not the use of their technology) beyond CS. Some notes:
- Tova Milo gave a nice plenary talk on business process data management (imagine queries to travel agency like, can I get a price quote without giving first my credit card details?), nearly all aspects from data models to query language to logic, optimization, provenance and structural/module privacy. More info here.
- I spent some time with Raghu and Divy. Raghu has done everything, and it is great to pick his brain about the potential evolution curves of MapReduce, BigTable/Cassandra/ and others. Divy is super open to discussion on any topic, and we continued our past discussions on auction and pricing, this time more focused on selling data. I also spent time with Divesh, charming, incredibly knowledgeable with footprint all over SIGMOD as usual, and the ever-clever Alon Halevy (I cant break his story yet!).
- In PODS business meeting, it was suggested that number of emails be used as a measure of complexity of organizing a meeting.
- Finally, PODS overlapped with the day of protests and general strike in Athens. Normally the Athenians (and Greeks in general) have an alluring air of anarchy about them, and this day exaggerated the effect. I mistakenly walked into the intersection with tear gas, and not only teared and had a serious headache afterwards, but also spent the flight back to NY with no feelings on my left leg. Notwithstanding that, I was happy to be in Athens where the modern world began.