Big Data man wins Turing award

Michael_Stonebraker_2MIT boffin Michael Stonebraker has won the Turing Award for his work on the field of database management systems (DBMSs).

The Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Turing Award, is the Nobel Prize of computing and comes with a Google-funded $1 million prize.

ACM said that Stonebraker “invented many of the concepts that are used in almost all modern database systems … and founded numerous companies successfully commercialising his pioneering database technology work”.

Stonebraker said he didn’t know what he was researching for more than 30 years until the people in marketing started talking about Big Data and that was when he realised that he’d been studying this thing for the better part of his academic life.

For more than 40 years Stonebraker 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.

Stonebraker most influential systems, Ingres and Postgres, provided the foundational ideas and 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 organised way to store multiple kinds of entities and is the industry standard for business storage.

Stonebraker released many of his systems into the public domain, long before the idea of open source existed and ensured their widespread adoption and allowing other academics to build on his work.