30th International Conference on
Very Large Data Bases
Royal York Hotel
29 August - 3 September 2004
Toronto, Canada






Welcome to the 30th International Conference on Very Large Databases (VLDB'04). VLDB Conferences are among the premier database meetings for dissemination of research results and for the exchange of latest ideas in the development and practice of database technology. The program includes two keynote talks, a 10-year award presentation, 81 research papers, 26 industrial papers (9 of which are invited), 5 tutorials, 2 panels and 34 demonstrations. It is a very rich program indeed.

This year we witnessed a significant jump of submissions. There were 504 research and industrial paper submissions, accounting for about 10% increase over last year and about 7% increase over 2002. Consequently the competition was fierce with an acceptance rate of 16.1% for research papers and about 40% for industrial papers.
The first keynote talk is by David Yach, who is the Senior Vice President of Software at Research in Motion (RIM). RIM is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Their best-known product is the Blackberry line of wireless handhelds. David oversees and manages the development of all lines of software at RIM. In his talk entitled "Databases in a Wireless World", David addresses the emerging environment where "information is stored not only in these central databases, but on a myriad of computers and computer-based devices in addition to the central storage. These range from desktop and laptop computers to PDA's and wireless devices such as cellular phones and BlackBerry's. The combination of large centralized databases with a large number and variety of associated edge databases effectively form a large distributed database, but one where many of the traditional rules and assumptions for distributed databases are no longer true." His talk discusses some of the new and challenging attributes of this new environment, particularly focusing on the challenges of wireless and occasionally connected devices.

Alon Halevy of the University of Washington gives the second keynote talk. His talk is entitled "Structures, Semantics and Statistics" and addresses the issues in integrating data from multiple sources. This is a problem that has occupied our community for a long time and has gained renewed importance with the emergence of the World Wide Web and the very many (and diverse) data sources that have become available on the Web. Alon's talk begins by "highlighting some of the significant recent achievements in the field of data integration, both in research and in industry." He then focuses on the main challenge going forward, namely, large-scale reconciliation of semantic heterogeneity, and on-the-fly information integration.

The ten-year best paper award this year goes to Rakesh Agrawal and Ramakrishan Srikant for their paper entitled "Fast Algorithms for Mining Association Rules in Large Databases" that appeared in the 1994 VLDB Conference Proceedings. The Awards Committee (consisting of Masaru Kitsuregawa, Johann-Christoph Freytag, Raghu Ramakrishnan, Anastassia Ailamaki, Paolo Atzeni, and Limsoon Wong and chaired by Tamer Özsu) considered this to be one of the seminal papers in data mining. The paper identifies association rule mining and they discover a very nice property (a priori) that helps in pruning candidates in association rule mining. Rakesh and Ramakrishnan present a talk at this year's conference that focuses on the future of data mining.

The five tutorials that are scheduled cover a wide range of topics including core database topics as well as emerging issues in data management. The tutorials are the following:

- Database Architectures for New Hardware by Anastassia Ailamaki of Carnegie Mellon University

- Security of shared data in large systems by Arnon Rosenthal of Mitre Corporation and Marianne Winslett of University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

- Self-Managing Technology in Database Management Systems by Surajit Chaudhuri of Microsoft Research, Benoit Dageville of Oracle, and Guy Lohman of IBM Almaden Research Lab.

- Architectures and Algorithms for Internet-Scale (P2P) Data Management by Joseph Hellerstein of University of California, Berkeley

- The Continued Saga of DB-IR Integration by Ricardo Baeza-Yates of University of Chile and Mariano Consens of University of Toronto

There are two panels scheduled at this year's conference. The first panel is moderated by Thodoros Topaloglou of MDS Proteomics and is on "Biological Data Management: Research, Practice and Opportunities". The panel focuses on the data management problems that arise in the field of biological research. The panelists (Susan B. Davidson, H. V. Jagadish, Victor M. Markowitz, Evan W. Steeg, and Mike Tyers) discuss the ways in which database researchers can better serve the needs of biomedical research.

The second panel is entitled "Where is Business Intelligence taking today's database systems" and is moderated by Bill O'Connell of IBM Canada. The panelists are Andy Witkowski, Ramesh Bhashyam, Surajit Chauduri, Nigel Campbell. The panel addresses issues that arise in the production level deployment of business intelligence solutions (e.g., data mining, OLAP) over relational systems.

The technical program is the result of efforts by a large group of people. Three Program Committees were formed along themes (core database, infrastructure for information systems, and industrial and applications) consisting of 137 colleagues, each of whom reviewed about 13 papers. Raymond Ng and Matthias Jarke handled the tutorials, Jarek Gryz and Fred Lochovsky selected the panels, Bettina Kemme and David Toman assembled the demonstrations program. We thank them all for helping us put together an exciting program. We also thank Mario Nascimento for the excellent work he has done in putting together these Proceedings. We, along with Mario, also want to extend our thanks to DCC/UFAM in Brazil for the local support they have provided during the compilation of these proceedings while he was in Brazil.

M. Tamer Özsu
Donald Kossmann
Renée J. Miller
José A. Blakeley
Berni Schiefer