I first had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jim Gray in 1999 when Jim was keynoting for the PASS Community Summit. Jim, a Distinguished Engineer in Microsoft’s Scalable Servers Research Group and leader of Microsoft’s Bay Area Research Group (BARC), is one of the preeminent scholars of the relational database world. Jim is directly responsible for many important innovations in the relational database world, especially his seminal work around transactions and transaction processing.
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I have to admit that I was embarrassed to mention that my book ‘SQL in a Nutshell’ had been released because I feared he might quiz me about its contents! But when one of my PASS colleagues mentioned it to him, he was nothing but gracious and complimentary. Wow! After getting to know him a bit better, I found him to be very pleasant and completely approachable. What a pleasure! You can read more about Jim simply by googling him or by going to http://research.microsoft.com/~Gray/.
Jim is currently working on astronomy-related projects, helping to build an open online database of astronomic data such as those at http://terraservice.net and http://skyserver.sdss.org. But he frequently makes time to discuss his views and thoughts with the community. I really enjoyed his interview with ACM Queue back in June of 2003 at http://www.acmqueue.org/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=43.
Jim’s latest discourse in ACM’s Queue is titled “A Call To Arms” and is one of the more challenging monologues on database technology and futures that I’ve encountered. Please take a look at it at http://www.acmqueue.org/modules.php?name=Content&pa=printer_friendly&pid=293&page=1. I’d love to hear what you think!