1998 Turing Lecture:

What Next? A Few Remaining Problems in Information Technology

EECS Joint Colloquium Distinguished Lecture Series

Dr. Jim Gray
Microsoft Research, Scaleable Servers Research Group & Manager, Bay Area Research Center

Wednesday, November 3, 1999
Hewlett Packard Auditorium, 306 Soda Hall
4:00-5:00 p.m.


Babbage's vision of computing has largely been realized. We are on the verge of realizing Bush's Memex. But, we are some distance from passing the Turing Test. These three visions and their associated problems have provided long-range research goals for many of us. For example, the Scalability problem has motivated me for several decades. This talk defines a set of fundamental research problems that broaden the Babbage, Bush, and Turing visions. They extend Babbage's computational goal to include highly-secure, highly-available, self-programming, self-managing, and self-replicating systems. They extend Bush's Memex vision to include a system that automatically organizes, indexes, digests, evaluates, and summarizes information (as well as a human might). Another group of problems extends Turing's vision to include prosthetic vision, speech, hearing, and other senses. Each problem is simply stated and each is orthogonal from the others, though they share some common core technologies.


Jim is a specialist in database and transaction processing computer systems. At Microsoft his research focuses on scaleable computing: building super-servers and workgroup systems from commodity software and hardware. Prior to joining Microsoft, he worked at Digital, Tandem, IBM and AT&T on database and transaction processing systems including Rdb, ACMS, NonStopSQL, Pathway, System R, SQL/DS, and DB2. He is editor of the Performance Handbook for Database and Transaction Processing Systems, and co-author of Transaction Processing Concepts and Techniques. He did has PhD dissertation at Berkeley, is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the ACM, Trustee of the VLDB Foundation, and Editor of the Morgan Kaufmann series on Data Management, a member of the National Research Council's Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, and a member of the President's Information Technology Advisor Committee. He received the 1998 ACM Alan M. Turing Award.