2020 SIGMOD Systems Award

The creators of BerkeleyDB are the recipients of the 2020 SIGMOD Systems Award for their seminal work in embodying simplicity, quality, and elegance in a high-performance key-value store that has impacted many systems and applications over the last 25 years. BerkeleyDB contributors are (in alphabetical order): Don Anderson, Keith Bostic, Alan Bram, Greg Burd, Michael Cahill, Ron Cohen, Alex Gorrod, George Feinberg, Mark Hayes, Charles Lamb, Linda Lee, Susan LoVerso, John Merrells, Mike Olson, Carol Sandstrom, Steve Sarette, David Schacter, David Segleau, Margo Seltzer, Mike Ubell.

Don Anderson started his professional career doing kernel work with Bell Laboratories in 1979. Then he worked for over 25 years as an independent consultant for a variety of clients, specializing in UNIX and its variants, compilers, linkers and loaders. He worked with Sleepycat Software from 1997 until they were acquired by Oracle in 2006, and continued consulting with their clients around the world, helping to build great products using Berkeley DB. He now works for MongoDB on the Storage Engines team. He also has a parallel career as a professional jazz trumpet player.

Keith Bostic is a principal developer and co-architect of the WiredTiger storage engine, at MongoDB Inc. Mr. Bostic was the architect and one of the original developers of Berkeley DB, the most widely-used embedded data management software in the world. He co-founded Sleepycat Software, acquired by Oracle Corp, and WiredTiger, Inc., acquired by MongoDB. Mr. Bostic was one of the principal architects of the University of California, Berkeley, 4.4BSD and 4.4BSD-Lite releases, and the architect of the 2.10BSD release as well as the co-designer and implementor the 4.4BSD log-structured file system and the implementor of the widely used editor, nvi.

Alan Bram is a software engineer at Google, where he has worked on search systems specialized for private corpora. His earlier areas of experience include high-availability distributed databases, and custom data communication protocols. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell.

Gregory Scott Burd is a veteran software engineer with a focus on data storage and distributed systems.  Greg has had the distinct honor to have worked within innovative teams and learned from outstanding people at many truly amazing companies including NeXT Computer, Sun Microsystems, Sleepycat Software, Oracle, Basho, Amazon/AWS, and Akamai Technologies to name a few.  As a father of four wonderful children and husband to Professor Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School, he spends his spare time in service of or relaxing with the family.

Dr Michael Cahill was a Berkeley DB developer at Sleepycat Software and Oracle, responsible for the design and implementation of multi-version concurrency control.  While working on Berkeley DB, he completed a PhD at the University of Sydney in the area of transaction processing and concurrency control.  His work on a new algorithm for implementing serializable isolation received the CORE Australasian Distinguished Dissertation Award, an SIGMOD Best Paper award, a SIGMOD Test of Time Award in 2018 and was added to PostgreSQL 9.1.  He is now VP Labs at MongoDB after WiredTiger, the startup he co-founded with Keith Bostic, was acquired in 2015.

Ron Cohen has always worked, studied, and been obsessed with database management systems. He worked in support and development on an inverted file DBMS written in IBM assembler language (Model 204). He was an application programmer for a variety of relational systems including SQL Server. Starting with Berkeley DB (BDB), his work has been in open source software with a focus on performance, tuning and reliability. Ron also worked as a solution architect with Apache Cassandra and DataStax Enterprise. His goal is always to help users apply technology to meet their business requirements.

Alex Gorrod is Director of Engineering at MongoDB leading the storage engines group. He was the third employee of WiredTiger building out a new storage engine designed for modern hardware where he implemented many new features, including an LSM tree implementation. Prior to that, he worked on Berkeley DB first with Sleepycat Software and then with Oracle Corp., reimplementing the hash access method and optimizing Berkeley DB for deployment on mobile devices.

George Feinberg is a Consulting MTS with Oracle working on the Oracle NoSQL Database. He’s interested in distributed systems and data storage, and enjoys solving real-world problems by focusing on simplicity of design and the user experience. While with Sleepycat Software he helped Berkeley DB XML evolve into a mature embedded XML database product. At Oracle he is responsible for the table model of Oracle NoSQL Database and the API experience. While not working he can be found paddling a river, skiing a mountain, or enjoying a remote wilderness experience.

After working on desktop software early in his career and then transitioning to web applications in the 90’s, in 2003 Mark Hayes found a home at Sleepycat Software  working on something truly interesting and extremely challenging: a database storage engine.   He contributed to the Java APIs for Berkeley DB and helped with the early versions of Berkeley DB Java Edition. He has continued enhancing BDB JE until today at Oracle, where it is used as the foundation of Oracle NoSQL Database.

Charles Lamb is a Director at Oracle where he is the Service Owner for the Oracle NoSQL Database Cloud service. He has worked in the database industry for Computer Corporation of America, Symbolics, Object Design, Sun Microsystems, Sleepycat Software, and most recently Oracle. At Sleepycat he helped develop Berkeley DB Java Edition. He holds S.B. and S.M. degrees in Computer Science from MIT.

Linda Lee joined Sleepycat Software after stints doing everything from logic design, e-marketing software, and storage systems. At Sleepycat she was one of the initial team who designed Berkeley DB Java Edition. She went on to Oracle to build Oracle NoSQL Database on top of the BDB Java Edition storage engine, and has now released Oracle NoSQL Cloud Service. After 3 decades as a software professional, Linda’s most valuable skill is the ability to ask the right questions and make sure that they are answered thoroughly and thoughtfully.

At Sleepycat Software, Susan LoVerso led engineering on Berkley DB’s high-availability product. She was also the primary engineer adding encryption support to Berkeley DB and porting the library to embedded systems including VxWorks and QNX. Working on database storage engines was a natural step for Susan after more than a decade working on Unix file system internals.  She has followed this passion into her current role as a senior staff engineer at MongoDB, leading development on the WiredTiger storage engine.

John Merrells is a CTO who helps mission-driven startups scale up. He is presently the Chief Product Officer at Sight Machine, as well as a thought leader in the emerging space of technological governance.

Mike Olson holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Computer Science from UC Berkeley. He worked closely with Dr. Mike Stonebraker on the POSTGRES project, and co-developed the original version of Berkeley DB with Dr. Margo Seltzer while they shared an office in graduate school. After leaving the University, he worked at a number of database software companies. Highlights include Sleepycat, where he began as VP Sales and Marketing and eventually became CEO, and Cloudera, which he co-founded in 2008.

Scion of physicists and engineers, Carol Sandstrom tried out biology, university administration, financial management, and Internet provisioning before stumbling into a career in software test, QA and release engineering, where  she remains happily to this day.

Steve Sarette is a technical writer with 35 years of industry experience that ranges from mainframes to databases to cloud computing. He received a BA in English and Mathematics from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 1985. Currently he is employed as a Principal Technical Writer at Palo Alto Networks where he spends about half his time writing developer documentation. He spends the other half of his time developing tools that improve the efficiency of authoring and production processes for a DITA-based technical publications organization. In his spare time, he mentors new writers in the craft of technical writing.

David Segleau is a self-professed “database guy”. Worked on or used many, many database products over four decades. Jack of many trades — has held pretty much every job there is in a technical company, other than sales (but helped out as needed there, too). Was fortunate to work at Sleepycat and work with the Berkeley DB team for twelve years. It’s been a pleasure to work on a great, innovative technical product with a dedicated and brilliant team.

Margo Seltzer is Canada 150 Research Chair in Computer Systems and the Cheriton Family chair in Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests are in systems, construed quite broadly: systems for capturing and accessing data provenance, file systems, databases, transaction processing systems, storage and analysis of graph-structured data, new architectures for parallelizing execution, and systems that apply technology to problems in healthcare. She was a co-founder and CTO of Sleepycat Software, the makers of Berkeley DB.

Michael Ubell has retired from a 40 year career developing database and transaction management systems. Ubell began his career working on the original Ingres project at the University of California. He has served in engineering and management roles at Britton Lee, Digital Equipment Corporation, Illustra, Informix, Sleepycat, Oracle and Cloudera. Currently he volunteers on open data and gun violence prevention projects in Oakland California. He is currently an active volunteer with the OpenOakland Brigade of Code for America. He holds a BA in Mathematics and Computer Science from Hampshire College and a MA in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley.