VLDB '95 Tutorials

  • Tutorial A
    MO 11 09, 14:00 - 17:30

    A Survey of Parallel Database Techniques and Systems
    Jim Gray (UC Berkeley)

    The tutorial first introduces the common techniques used by parallel database systems to partition data and execution. Parallel variants of the relational operators are described. Optimization techniques are then briefly outlined. Attention then turns to commercial systems available today. The tutorial highlights the strengths of each of these systems: Teradata, Tandem, Oracle, Informix, Sybase, and DB2/2.
    About the Instructor
    Jim Gray is a specialist in database, transaction processing, and dependable computer systems. He has written many articles and built several systems that embody his ideas on these topics. He is currently a McKay Fellow at UC Berkeley. He has worked at Digital on Rdb and Sorting, worked at Tandem on NonStop SQL, and at IBM on System R, SQL/DS, DB2, and IMS-Fast Path. He is co-author of Transaction Processing Concepts and Techniques, and Editor of the Handbook for Database and Transaction Processing Systems Performance. He is a Fellow of the ACM and is active in the National Research Council.

  • Tutorial B
    MO 11 09, 14:00 - 17:30

    Spatial Database Systems
    Ralf Hartmut Gueting (University of Hagen)


    The purpose of a spatial database system is the management of data about some space in two or more dimensions. Space of interest may be the physical world around us as in geography, urban planning, meteorology, or astronomy. Other spaces may, for example, represent parts of the human body, a VLSI design, or a 3D molecular structure. A spatial database keeps information about objects in such spaces with a clear identity, position, and extent, in contrast to image databases where the focus is on the manipulation of raster images of such spaces.
    Spatial data management imposes a number of requirements on database systems. Concepts are needed to describe the shape and position of objects in space as well as relationships between them. Data modeling must also provide concepts for the representation of spatially related collections of objects, such as partitions (of a region), or networks. To access efficiently objects in some particular region of the space, specialized spatial access methods are needed. The user interface must support graphical representation as well as overlay of different query results. Since extensions at all levels of the system architecture are needed, extensible database systems are the prime architectural framework for the implementation of spatial database systems.
    The tutorial aims at giving a coherent picture of the main research results obtained so far in the areas of modeling, querying, data structures and algorithms for system implementation, and system architecture.
    About the Instructor
    Ralf Hartmut Gueting is currently a full professor in computer science at the University of Hagen, Germany. He received his Diplom and Dr.rer.nat. degrees from the University of Dortmund. After a one-year stay at the IBM Almaden Research Center in 1985, extensible and spatial database systems became his major research interests. His group has built a prototype of an extensible spatial DBMS, the Gral-System. He is the author of a (German) text book on data structures and algorithms and has published about 35 articles in computational geometry and database systems. He recently was a guest editor of a special issue of the VLDB Journal on Spatial Database Systems.

  • Tutorial C
    TU 12 09, 14:00 - 17:30

    The Evolution of User Interface Tools for Database Applications
    Ravi Krishnamurthy (Hewlett-Packard Labs)

    Moshe Zloof (Hewlett-Packard Labs)


    Traditionally, the user interface tools for database applications have lagged the technological advances in GUI revolution. Recent entrants such as PowerBuilder, SQL Windows, NextStep, etc., have made major strides in closing this gap. In order to extrapolate the trends, we introspect the past and forecast the future.
    We will first give a historical account of the evolution of database UI tools since the early seventies in the context of many facets of database applications (e.g., querying, forms & reports, 4GL capabilities, and end user graphical tools). These tools were aimed at improving the productivity of application developers, the primary clientele of SQL.
    The advent of PC database management system saw the metamorphism of this clientele to less sophisticated users. These non-programmers (i.e., power users) who wish to build their own applications required different kinds of tools and the PC database industry lead this thrust.
    We address the design factors in both these types of tools and contrast them. In doing this, we will use examples from some of the current products (e.g., Microsoft's Access, Gupta's SQL Widows, Powersoft's PowerBuilder, etc.) to highlight their power, functionality, levels of abstraction and ease of use.
    Lastly, we extrapolate on how this UI technology will be evolving in the future.
    About the Instructors
    Ravi Krishnamurthy is a senior researcher at H.P. Labs, currently heading the Picture Programming project that is developing the IC-BY-EXAMPLE language. He received his doctorate degree at the Univ. of Texas at Austin and then joined Moshe Zloof at IBM T.J. Watson Res. Center to work on the Office-By-Example project in 1981. In 1985, he joined MCC to work on Budda and LDL, where he subsequently assumed the chief architect position of the joint project. After leaving MCC, he was a co-founder of a start-up company, Logica Information Machines, in which he is still involved as its Chairman of the Board of Directors.
    Moshe Zloof, principal architect of H.P. Labs, is considered a poineer researcher in the area of data base languages and user interfaces. Back in the 1970's, in a complete departure from the traditional approach and while working at IBM, Moshe created QUERY-BY-EXAMPLE (QBE), the first visual programming language which not only set the stage for considerable research agenda, but also has been incorporated in many successful products such as PARADOX, DBASE IV, ACCESS, and many more.
    At Hewlett-Packard, Moshe is currently involved in developing the IC-BY-EXAMPLE language - a new paradigm to enable non-programmer professionals to construct their own applications.

  • Tutorial D
    WE 13 09, 9:00 - 12:30

    OQL: Language, Compatibility with SQL, Implementation
    Sophie Cluet (INRIA)


    OQL is the standard for object database query languages proposed by the ODMG. It borrows SQL syntax but has a functional nature that makes it simpler to use, implement, and document. Improving its compatibility with SQL(92) and clarifying its relationship with SQL(3) will strongly help its general acceptance by the database community. More important, ANSI(X3H2) and ODMG are working on a proposal for a common standard involving the current OQL.
    The tutorial addresses a public of both, industrials and researchers. Although standards are clearly of primary interest to industrials, their evolution also provides challenging issues that should not be overlooked by researchers.
    The tutorial consists of three parts. First, we present OQL(1.2) in details and explain how to construct simple and complex OQL queries. Next, we discuss the OQL vs. SQL approaches and study different possibilities by which OQL can reach full compatibility with SQL. Finally, we briefly consider the language implementation.
    About the Instructor
    Sophie Cluet is currently a researcher in the Verso team at INRIA-Rocquencourt. She holds a PhD from the University of Paris-Sud. She is one of the designers of OQL and has implemented for O2 Technology the language's first interpreter and optimizer. She is still very much involved in this area (working on a future release of OQL and new OO optimization techniques).

  • Tutorial E
    WE 13 09, 14:00 - 17:30

    Transformation-based Database Engineering
    Jean-Luc Hainaut (University of Namur)


    Transformation-based software engineering has long been considered as a major scientific approach to build reliable and efficient programs. According to this approach, abstract specifications can be converted into correct, compilable and efficient programs by application of selected, correctness-preserving operators called transformations. In the database engineering realm, transformations that are proved to preserve the correctness of the origin specifications have been proposed in virtually all the activities related to data engineering : schema normalization, DBMS schema development, schema optimization, model translation, schema integration, view derivation, proving schema equivalence, data conversion, reverse engineering, and others.
    The tutorial is a contribution to the systematic study of both fundamental and practical aspects of database schema transformations. It introduces the fundamentals of database transformations, then it develops a practical toolset of neutral techniques. These techniques are used to revisit the main database engineering processes. The description of a transformation-based CASE tool and the presentation of a reengineering case study demonstrates the applicability of this general approach.
    About the Instructor
    Jean-Luc Hainaut is a professor in Information Systems and Databases at the Institute of Informatics of the University of Namur, Belgium. His research interests comprise database technology, database methodology, reverse engineering, information system evolution and CASE technology. Currently, he is heading the multinational DB-MAIN project the purpose of which is to develop general methodologies and CASE tools to assist practitioners in solving database application maintenance and evolution problems.
    He is the author of two books in database and DSS design, and of over 20 recent conference papers, most of them dealing with transformation techniques. He has presented several tutorials (including three on database reverse engineering and reengineering) in major international conferences on Databases and Information Systems.

  • Tutorial F
    TH 14 09, 9:00 - 12:30

    Repository Internals
    Philip A. Bernstein (Microsoft Corporation)


    A repository is a metadata manager that supports design tools for CASE, CAD and the like. It runs as an application on a DBMS and provides three main functions beyond those of a standard DBMS: relationships, version and configuration management, and extensibility. We explain how these functions can be used by design tools, and what technical requirements are implied by those usage patterns. We then delve into the technical capabilities of each function. For example, relationships are object-valued properties that have special update semantics and can be scoped by configurations. Version and configuration functions allow tools to run either on repository objects directly or on files. Configurations support transitive containment (unlike file systems) and can scope name spaces. A tool vendor can extend the repository's model by adding behavior to standard repository methods on repository objects, e.g., by adding state to the object, checking constraints on the object, and adding methods to the objects.
    The presentation will draw from examples of Microsoft's and others' CASE tools, and where appropriate will be couched in the OLE object model.
    About the Instructor
    Philip Bernstein is a repository architect at Microsoft, where he leads a joint design effort with Texas Instruments to design an open repository for CASE. He was formerly an architect at Digital Equipment Corp., a professor at Harvard University and Wang Institute of Graduate Studies, and VP Software at Sequoia Systems. Dr. Bernstein has published over 70 articles on the theory and implementation of database systems, is coauthor of "Concurrency Control and Recovery in Database Systems" (Addison-Wesley, 1987). In 1994, he was awarded the ACM SIGMOD Innovations Award for "contributions to the development and use of database systems."

  • Tutorial G
    TH 14 09, 14:00 - 17:30

    Temporal Databases
    Christian S. Jensen (Aalborg University)

    Richard T. Snodgrass (University of Arizona)


    Temporal database technology has reached a level of maturity and sophistication that clearly illustrates that the support for temporal data management provided by current database products is very far from what is achievable.
    The tutorial provides an overview of important issues and concepts within temporal database management. It reviews fundamental data modeling concepts and surveys the implementation of temporal database systems. It also features the consensual temporal query language TSQL2 that has recently been designed by an international committee of database researchers and practitioners. TSQL2 adds temporal support to the current SQL standard and is the most complete temporal query language to date.
    The tutorial is relevant for practitioners who work with databases containing time-varying data, and for database researchers who are interested in temporal data management.
    About the Instructors
    Christian S. Jensen is currently an Associate Professor at Aalborg University, Denmark. He has spent 4 years at the University of Maryland and the University of Arizona. Recently, he coordinated and headed two editorial boards for the ongoing consensus temporal database glossary initiative; he is editor for the temporal database benchmark initiative; and he was a member of the TSQL2 Language Design Committee.
    Richard T. Snodgrass received his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 1982 and joined the University of Arizona in 1989. He has written or co-edited three books, including "Temporal Databases: Theory, Design and Implementation.'" He chaired the TSQL2 Language Design Committee, and is now working closely with the ANSI and ISO SQL3 committees to add temporal support to that language.