AI News, Michael Stonebraker wins $1 million Turing Award

Michael Stonebraker wins $1 million Turing Award

Michael Stonebraker, a researcher at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) who has revolutionized the field of database management systems (DBMSs) and founded multiple successful database companies, has won the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) A.M. Turing Award, often referred to as “the Nobel Prize of computing.” This year marks the first time that the Turing Award comes with a Google-funded $1 million prize.

“That’s when I realized that I’d been studying this thing for the better part of my academic life.” Stonebraker's work over the past four decades has helped spur a multibillion-dollar “big data” industry that he himself has participated in, creating and leading nine separate companies, including VoltDB, Tamr, Paradigm4, and Vertica (which was bought by Hewlett-Packard in 2011 for $340 million).

“He has been both a devoted academic and a serial entrepreneur, and all of us at CSAIL are so inspired by his work and proud to have him as a colleague.” In his previous work at the University of California at Berkeley, Stonebraker developed two of his most influential systems, Ingres and Postgres, which provide the foundational ideas — and, in many cases, specific source code — that spawned several contemporary database products, including IBM’s Informix and EMC’s Greenplum.

Ingres was one of the first relational databases, which provide a more organized way to store multiple kinds of entities – and which now serve as the industry standard for business storage. Larry Rowe, a professor emeritus at Berkeley who helped Stonebraker commercialize the technology, remembers that many of their colleagues didn’t think that relational databases could evolve from academic theory to practical application.

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