Remembering Jim Gray
It was just over a year ago -- Jan. 28, 2007, to be exact -- that Microsoft
research fellow and Turing Award-winner Jim Gray went
off the coast of California, during what was supposed to be a solo
day trip on his 40-foot sailboat Tenacious
. Despite an extensive search
of the waters off the San Francisco bay, Jim Gray and his boat were never found.
The loss was a devastating one for the development community. Gray was a leading
light in the area of database development and transaction processing. He helped
create many of the technologies that are today at the heart of modern database
and transaction processing systems. In 1995, Gray joined Microsoft to found
and manage the Microsoft Bay Area Research Center (BARC), where he worked on
a variety of projects. Among them was the Microsoft TerraServer Web site, which
provided high-resolution, satellite-based photos of the earth years before Google
Now, a year after Gray went missing, the Association of Computing Machinery
(the organization that holds the Turing Awards), the IEEE Computer Society and
the University of California-Berkeley have joined to announce a tribute to Gray,
planned for May 31 at the UC Berkeley campus. Jim Gray attended UC Berkeley
from 1961 to 1969 and earned the school's very first Ph.D. in computer science.
Fittingly enough, the tribute will also feature technical sessions for registered
participants. You can find more information about the tribute here.
Mike Olson, Oracle's vice president of embedded technologies, is scheduled
to speak at the event about the search effort for Gray. In a statement released
today, he said: "It is important to note that this is a tribute, not a
memorial. Many people in our industry, including me, are deeply indebted to
Jim for his intellect, his vision and his unselfish willingness to be a teacher
and a mentor."
Posted by Michael Desmond on 02/05/2008 at 1:15 PM