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About Jim

In naming the lab after Jim we wanted to pay tribute to one of the intellectual giants of the database field. After receiving his Ph.D. from Berkeley in 1969, Jim joined IBM where he helped design and implement System R, one of the first relational database systems. As part of his work on this project he formalized the concept of transactions, research that was recognized in 1998 with an ACM Turing Award. After leaving IBM, Jim joined Tandem where he worked on the Non-Stop SQL project. It was there that he became interested in parallel database systems. Subsequently he ran a research laboratory for DEC in San Francisco before joining Microsoft in 1995.

Peter Spiro and Jim Gray, October 2006
Eben Haber

Until Jim was lost at sea sailing off the coast of California in January 2007, he was instrumental in helping to formulate Microsoft’s database strategy. Jim made many important technical contributions to the database field over the course of his career, but he was also extremely generous with his time, mentoring a large number of individuals. Those fortunate enough to have known him will never forget him or his impact on their lives. Our hope is that those individuals who are affiliated with the lab will honor his legacy by following his example of working on fundamental intellectual issues associated with the design of database systems or their application to scientific domains.