The Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded Stratos Idreos of Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam a Veni grant for his project “DataExplore: Querying the Universe in a few seconds”. In his research Dr. Idreos will study advanced methods to turn big data into useful knowledge. The Veni grant is a prestigious grant for young researchers, allowing them to do research for three years. Obtaining this grant is an important step in a scientific career.
Gathering data has never been easier. Automated systems gather data for just about anything: Internet surfing patterns, climate, stock exchanges, seismological activity, DNA analysis or even faraway galaxies. Scientists often find themselves with much more data than they can possibly organize and analyze. In previous research, Dr. Idreos proposed several radical new approaches for management of very large databases. These unique methods do not need any initialization time, removing one of the major bottleneck in managing very large databases. Tests on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the world’s largest scientific database which contains several petabytes of astronomical data, showed that his methods could speed up the search process with a factor ten to twenty. For this research Dr. Idreos won the 2011 ACM SIGMOD Jim Gray Dissertation Award and the 2011 ERCIM Cor Baayen award for European most promising young researcher in computer science.
With his Veni grant, Dr. Idreos will continue his research on very large databases. His vision is to construct a database architecture that is able to provide answers without processing the entire data set. Next generation database systems should be able to interpret queries by their intent, rather than a contract carved in stone to deliver complete and correct answers. Their response times should decrease as to allow interaction with the system and explore data as soon as it comes available.
The Database Architecture group at CWI is one of the leading groups in Big Data research worldwide. The results of their research are accumulated in the open source database management software MonetDB. Since 2011, column store technology as pioneered in MonetDB has found its way into the product offerings of all major commercial database vendors.