During May 31 – June 1, 1990 – just a few months before I started as a graduate student at Waterloo – the University of Waterloo hosted a two-day symposium entitled “The 1990’s – The Database Decade” that featured one-hour talks by both academic and industrial researchers, which included Paul Larson, François Bancilhon, Frank Tompa, and Umesh Dayal. These invited talks described the trends in database systems research at that time, and also postulated potential avenues of new research in order to address issues raised in industry. With thanks to Frank Tompa, here’s the symposium’s call for participation:
1990’s – The Database Decade
Databases and access to them will form one of the important foundations for the information-based society and economy which should become a reality in this decade. The goal of this conference is bring together researchers, teachers and professionals to examine current and future database models and user interfaces and to exchange views on directions in this important field.Because of the various types of data and knowledge that need to be stored and accessed, many different database models are currently being explored and implemented. The presentations at this meeting will focus on data models for structured data, text, multi-media (such as voice and graphics), and knowledge and the mechanisms for storing, organizing and retrieving data of these various types. The traditional relational model and more recent approaches such as object-oriented databases will be examined.
The conference will feature three different views of database technology, the innovators who are creating new database models and methods of using them, the vendors who are building database systems to hold the many different types of data, and the large-scale users who need databases to operate their daily business.
The general conference program will consist of invited presentations with ample opportunities for interaction and discussion with both the speakers and other participants. Meals and session breaks have been arranged to encourage discussion among attendees.
This conference on databases & end-user empowerment is being held at the University of Waterloo in cooperation with the Institute for Computer Research (ICR) and the Information Technology Research Centre (ITRC), with the support of IBM Canada Ltd and the WATCOM Group.
Fortunately the lectures have survived, albeit on VHS video type. I am doubly fortunate to not only have copies of the VHS tapes but a VHS player in good condition!
Over the next while I will be transcribing these lectures and offering my own analysis of the research directions that were proposed, and what has happened in the database industry in the intervening 22 years. It is going to be, I hope, a fascinating exercise. First up will be one of my PhD co-supervisors, Paul Larson, who will discuss how we got to this point (in the 1990’s) and where we might be going.