EDBT/ICDT 2018 Joint Conference

Tu Wien held one of the most important international gatherings on data management technology and database theory EDBT/ICDT 2018.Consisting of the 21st International Conference on Extending Database Technology (EDBT) and the 21st International Conference on Database Theory (ICDT), EDBT/ICDT 2018 has been hosted by TU Wien under the auspices of Professor Reinhard Pichler, who attracted this event to Vienna.

Festival of Database Research

Pichler, who graduated in Mathematics in Innsbruck and London, and who obtained his doctorate in Computer Science at TU Wien (under the supervision of Professor Leitsch), had worked for many years at Siemens Austria before rejoining TU Wien as a professor in 2005. Pichler built up a very strong and internationally highly visible research group in Vienna.  He and his group work at the edge of Database Theory and Artificial Intelligence (AI).  The combination of these two areas is currently one of the hottest research topics in Computer Science. In fact, modern AI relies on massive amounts of data, especially in case of machine learning applications, and, on the other hand, databases need to become more “intelligent” in order to be able to answer more sophisticated queries.

The marriage of database technology and machine learning is actually one of the dominating topics of this year’s EDBT/ICDT conference. In fact, one of the keynote lectures by Chris Jermaine (Rice University, Houston) is entitled: “Large Scale Machine Learning: Where Do Relational Systems Fit In?”. In addition, several technical papers are dedicated to this topic.  Another key  topic is the parallelization of query-answering algorithms, which means computing query-answers by highly parallel algorithms running on cloud computers.

Another database research challenge of growing importance is approximate query processing. In many Big Data contexts, much speed and efficiency can be gained if we give up on looking for a perfect answer, and, instead are happy with a reasonable approximation. This will be discussed by Peter J. Haas, who argues that “The goal is not to improve only the scope and efficiency of the algorithms themselves, but also their consumability by analysts to support rational decision making.”  Haas, who  has family roots in Vienna,  is currently a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where his wife Laura Haas is the Dean of the College of Information and Computer Sciences. Both moved to Amherst after having retired from the fabulous IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California, where they have spent most of their professional lives.

Computational complexity is the mathematical study of scalability. Complexity theory does not only analyze the behavior of algorithms, but also develops instruments for determining if a particular problem can or cannot be solved by a scalable algorithm. This is related to the famous P=?NP problem. Moreover, complexity theory studies whether a problem is, in principle, parallelizable or not.  The EDBT/ICDT conference features a very special speaker on this topic: Professor Virginia Vassilevska Williams from Stanford University. She is a top researcher in the areas of algorithms and complexity. In her keynote talk “Fine-Grained Algorithms and Complexity” she will give an overview of a new theory of fine-grained problem reductions that allows one to better pinpoint lower bounds for a number of important problems.

Up to date, EDBT/ICDT 2018 has attracted more than 280 participants.

Event in Honor of Professor Georg Gottlob

As a collateral event, the gathering also fosters a workshop in honor of Professor Georg Gottlob, whose name is inextricably linked with database research in Vienna. He has recently won the Ada Lovelace Medal, which is the highest distinction for a Computer Scientist in the UK. After having served 11 years at Oxford University, Gottlob came back to Vienna in 2017,  where he is the Speaker of  the PhD doctoral college on Logical Methods in Computer Science – LogiCS funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). He is currently mainly in Vienna and only part-time at Oxford. Gottlob is also a recipient of the Wittgenstein Award from the Austrian National Science Fund (FWF), ERC grants, is an ACM Fellow, an ECCAI Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OEAW), the German National Academy of Sciences, and the Academia Europaea. He chaired the Program Committees of IJCAI 2003 and ACM PODS 2000.

While in Oxford, he has always kept very strong ties with TU Wien, and has intensively collaborated with Professor Pichler and with his former student Professor Thomas Eiter. Currently Georg Gottlob is working with Reinhard Pichler on new methods for query decomposition that promise to lead to faster algorithms for answering complex database queries. Read more here

Organizers

Shqiponja Ahmetaj (TU Wien)
Juliane Auerböck (TU Wien)
Theresa Csar (TU Wien)
Johannes Fichte (TU Wien)
Wolfgang Fischl (TU Wien)
Adrian Haret (TU Wien)
Markus Hecher (TU Wien)
Markus Kröll (TU Wien)
Michael Morak (TU Wien)
Reinhard Pichler (TU Wien)
Sebastian Skritek (TU Wien)

With support of Database and Artificial Intelligence Group and Vienna Center for Logic and Algorithms.

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