Another excellent ACM Queue interview (and another perplexing instance of the dead-tree version of the publication being updated weeks before the companion site). This one, with DBMS legend Michael Stonebraker, is certain to be controversial. Hopefully the somewhat funky acm.org URL for the interview will be accessible to people without ACM Digital Library accounts.
Over the past 30 years Michael Stonebraker has left an indelible mark on the database technology world. Stonebraker’s legacy began with Ingres, an early relational database initially developed in the 1970s at UC Berkeley, where he taught for 25 years. The Ingres technology lives on today in both the Ingres Corporation’s commercial products and the open source PostgreSQL software. A prolific entrepreneur, Stonebraker also started successful companies focused on the federated database and stream-processing markets. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1998 and currently is adjunct professor of computer science at MIT.
Interviewing Stonebraker is Margo Seltzer, one of the founders of Sleepycat Software, makers of Berkeley DB, a popular embedded database engine now owned by Oracle. Seltzer now spends most of her time teaching and doing research at Harvard, where she is full professor of computer science. She was kind enough to lend us her time and travel down the Charles River to speak with Stonebraker, her former Ph.D. advisor, at MIT’s striking Stata Center.