Innovative database technology enables scientific discoveries
On 1 January 2011 Martin Kersten, was appointed CWI Fellow. This title is given to senior members of CWI’s staff for their contribution in science and management, and to enable them to pursue free research directions supported by CWI. Kersten joined CWI in 1985 where he established the Database Research Group. From 1992 to 2011 he was head of the department Information Systems. Since 1991 Kersten is also part-time professor at the University of Amsterdam.
Kersten devoted most of his scientific career on the development of database systems. His opus magnum is the creation of MonetDB, a high-performance column-store database management system that is nowadays worldwide used. An important unifying theme in the work of Kersten is data intensive research. To honour him the CWI Lectures in Mathematics and Computer Science 2010 were dedicated to this theme.
In his future work the massive accumulation of scientific data will play a dominant role. Kersten’s new research project SciLens, that is launched today in Asilomar (USA), calls for international cooperation to develop database technology that can help to reveal the hidden world of knowledge in Petabytes of scientific data in for instance astronomy and seismology. According to Kersten, efficiently grinding such massive amounts of experimental data, requires fundamental research and changes in database management systems.
Kersten published ca. 140 scientific papers and his work is honoured by several prestigious awards. Recently his team received the 10-year VLDB Best Paper Award for their contribution to innovative database technology using the MonetDB system. Kersten is co-founder of several successful spin-off companies, among them are Data Distilleries and MonetDB.