Making Databases Work: the Pragmatic Wisdom of Michael Stonebraker

Abstract

At the ACM Awards banquet in June 2017, during the 50th anniversary celebration of the A.M. Turing Award, ACM announced the launch of the ACM A.M. Turing Book Series, a sub-series of ACM Books, to celebrate the winners of the A.M. Turing Award, computing's highest honor, the "Nobel Prize" for computing. This series aims to highlight the accomplishments of awardees, explaining their major contributions of lasting importance in computing.

"Making Databases Work: The Pragmatic Wisdom of Michael Stonebraker," the first book in the series, celebrates Mike's contributions and impact. What accomplishments warranted computing's highest honor? How did Stonebraker do it? Who is Mike Stonebraker---researcher, professor, CTO, lecturer, innovative product developer, serial entrepreneur, and decades-long leader, and research evangelist for the database community. This book describes Mike's many contributions and evaluates them in light of the Turing Award.

The book describes, in 36 chapters, the unique nature, significance, and impact of Mike's achievements in advancing modern database systems over more than 40 years. The stories involve technical concepts, projects, people, prototype systems, failures, lucky accidents, crazy risks, startups, products, venture capital, and lots of applications that drove Mike Stonebraker's achievements and career. Even if you have no interest in databases at all, you'll gain insights into the birth and evolution of Turing Award-worthy achievements from the perspectives of 39 remarkable computer scientists and professionals.

Today, data is considered the world's most valuable resource ("The Economist," May 6, 2017), whether it is in the tens of millions of databases used to manage the world's businesses and governments, in the billions of databases in our smartphones and watches, or residing elsewhere, as yet unmanaged, awaiting the elusive next generation of database systems. Every one of the millions or billions of databases includes features that are celebrated by the 2014 A.M. Turing Award and are described in this book.