Visionary: A Next Generation Visualization System for Data Bases

Thursday, September 18, 2003 - 7:00pm
Michael Stonebraker, M.I.T. and Rocket Software

This talk will present the key features of Visionary, a presentation system for ODBC and JDBC data sources. Visionary shows the result of a query on an arbitrary-sized canvas. The end user controls a viewer, which is a certain elevation above the canvas, and which can be freely panned in all directions. Semantic zooming is also supported; hence, at high elevation, an employee could be viewed as a dot on a geographic map; at lower elevation, he could morph into a picture and then into a historical graph of his salary versus time.

Even more powerful is the Visionary notion of wormholes. Canvases can have holes in them, through which other canvases (behind the current one) are visible. The viewer is merely a greater distance above the partially hidden canvas than the one in front of it. This talk will show several Visionary demo applications and present Visionary Studio, the drag-and-drop, wizard-oriented development environment. In addition, the talk will present several unsolved research problems in this style of interface that merit investigation.

Visionary was originally written as the Tioga/DataSplash system at Berkeley in the mid 1990's. After commercialization by Illustra, two rewrites by Informix, and a brief ownership by IBM, it is now being enhanced and marketed by Rocket Software.

This talk is cosponsored by the IEEE Computer Society.

Lecturer Biography: 

Michael Stonebraker has been a pioneer of data base research and technology for more than a quarter of a century. He was the main architect of the INGRES relational DBMS, the object-relational DBMS, POSTGRES, and the federated data system, Mariposa. All three prototypes were developed at the University of California at Berkeley where Stonebraker was a Professor of Computer Science for twenty five years. He is the founder of three successful Silicon Valley startups, whose objective was to commercialize these prototypes.

Professor Stonebraker is the author of scores of research papers on data base technology, operating systems and the architecture of system software services. He was awarded the ACM System Software Award in 1992 for his work on INGRES and the first annual Innovation award by the ACM SIGMOD special interest group in 1994. He has been recognized by Computer Reseller News as one of the top five software developers of the century. Moreover, Forbes magazine named him one of the 8 innovators driving the Silicon Valley wealth explosion during their 80th anniversary edition in 1998. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1998 and is presently an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at M.I.T.