ACM SIGMOD is pleased to present the 2016 SIGMOD Jim Gray Doctoral Dissertation Award to Paris Koutris. Koutris completed his dissertation titled “Query Processing for Massively Parallel Systems” at the University of Washington under the supervision of Dan Suciu. The thesis brings a set of fundamental contributions to the understanding of the complexity associated with query processing in the massively parallel setting which has recently revolutionized large-scale data processing. Koutris’ thesis introduces an abstract model for reasoning about the complexity of parallel processing, in terms of the number of rounds of parallel computing and of the maximum load on a particular node in the network. The thesis then provides algorithms for processing conjunctive join queries, at the core of query processing in virtually any application, and provides a family of algorithms with formal guarantees of optimality (or near-optimality) including in the presence of data skew, considering one or several rounds of computation. Data-sensitive techniques to alleviate skew are also incorporated in this formal framework. The work stands out by the elegance of its models, applicable to numerous contemporary large-scale data processing platforms, and for its fundamental results related to the complexity of parallel processing in this setting. It will help advance our community’s understanding of the challenges and opportunities raised by large-scale distributed data management.

parisParis Koutris is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he started in Fall 2015. Before that, he was a Ph.D. student in the Computer Science & Engineering Department at the University of Washington, advised by Dan Suciu. His research focuses on the theoretical aspects of data management. He is particularly interested in applying formal methods to various problems of modern data management systems: data processing in massively parallel systems, data pricing, and managing data with uncertainty. He received his Diploma from the National Technical University of Athens and also completed a M.Sc. Degree in Logic, Algorithms and Computation at the University of Athens.

ACM SIGMOD is also pleased to recognize Pinar Tozun and Alvin Cheung for Honorable Mention for the 2016 SIGMOD Jim Gray Doctoral Dissertation Award. Pinar completed her dissertation titled “Transactions Chasing Scalability and Instruction Locality on Multicores” at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne under the supervision of Prof. Anastasia Ailamaki. Alvin’s thesis is titled “Rethinking the Application-Database Interface” and the PhD was awarded by MIT under the supervision of Professors Sam Madden and Armando Solar-Lezama.

pinarPinar Tozun is a Research Staff Member at IBM Almaden Research Center since January 2015. In November 2014, she received her PhD degree from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne working under the supervision of Prof. Anastasia Ailamaki in Data-Intensive Applications and Systems Laboratory. Her research focuses on scalability and efficiency of data management systems on modern hardware. Pinar was an intern at Oracle Labs (Redwood Shores, CA) during summer 2012. Before starting her PhD, she received her BSc degree in Computer Engineering department of Koc University in 2009.


alvinAlvin Cheung is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. His research interests span data management and programming systems. He received his Ph.D. from MIT, advised by Sam Madden and Armando Solar-Lezama. While at MIT, he won the best paper award at CIDR 2013, best of SIGMOD 2014, was a recipient of NSF, NDSEG, and Intel Ph.D. fellowships, and a winner of the George M. Sprowls Award for outstanding dissertation in computer science at MIT. Since joining Washington in 2015, he has received a Google Faculty Research Award, and won the Early Career Research Award from the US Department of Energy.