For the article ‘The Amsterdam roots of Silicon Valley’s latest success stories’ journalists Sandra Olsthoorn and Stijn van Gils interviewed CWI researcher Peter Boncz. The article appeared online in the daily newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad on Friday 26 November 2021 and in the paper edition on Saturday 27 November 2021.
In the article Boncz explains how CWI database research is at the basis of two successful young Silicon Valley companies: Snowflake and Databricks. Both make software to store and process data.
Peter Boncz on database systems being among the most complex software systems in the world:
“More complicated even I think than operating systems.” What's so great about it? “An architect has to bring all kinds of properties and interests together in one house or building. That is what I am trying to do with database architecture. But those interests clash all the time. For example, a system must be very fast or be able to analyse a lot of data, but that costs a lot of energy or goes at the expense of the ease with which you can change or add data. It is actually an inextricable knot.”
Peter Boncz on spin-offs and entrepreneurship:
“The nice thing is that your ideas are immediately tested against reality. You can have a very nice paper, but even nicer is when all systems suddenly start using your idea and you see that the world changes because of it.”
Read the full article (in Dutch) on the website of Het Financieele Dagblad (Copyright reserved by Het Financieele Dagblad.)
Here you can watch the video of the CWI Database Architectures Group, where the research of many successfull database systems started: