Peter Boncz, computer scientist and researcher from the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica in Amsterdam (CWI) has been awarded the Humboldt Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The announcement is following the nomination by professors Alfons Kemper and Thomas Neumann from the Technische Universität München (TUM). Boncz is only the second Dutch computer scientist receiving the Humboldt Research Award, which recognizes career-wide achievements. Next academic year he will operate part-time from TUM.
Boncz is known for his work on columnar database systems, which received much international research interest following his work on the open source database system MonetDB, developed by CWI. Boncz was part of the team which received the prestigious VLDB 10-year Best Paper Award in 2009. His research into architecture-conscious data management, where algorithms and data structures used for database query processing are optimized to take into account low-level features in computer architecture (such as CPU cache memories), has become an established topic in both data management research and industrial practice. Columnar systems are now a well-accepted technology in commercial analytical databases and applied in areas that depend on the analysis of very large data volumes such as logistics, science, medicine and healthcare.
Boncz joined CWI in 2001 and is researcher in the Database Architectures research group. During his PhD at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) Boncz contributed to the inception of MonetDB under supervision of his promotor Martin Kersten. In the same period he was also involved in the foundation of CWI spin off Data Distilleries. For this achievement he received the ICT Regie Award in 2006. In 2008 he co-founded CWI spin off VectorWise, in which the vectorized query execution technique was commercialized. US-based Actian Corporation now owns Vectorwise, after acquiring it in 2011.