Jennifer Widom


2007 SIGMOD Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award


Professor Jennifer Widom is the recipient of the 2007 SIGMOD Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award for a series of fundamental contributions in several database sub-areas. Her contributions have either brought new structure to existing database research areas, or opened up whole new lines of database research.

Professor Widom has made fundamental contributions in areas including database rule systems, data warehousing and view maintenance, semi-structured data management, stream database systems, and database support for uncertainty and lineage. In the area of database rule systems, her 1990 ACM SIGMOD paper offered the first complete framework for incorporating production rules into a DBMS with well-defined semantics; that paper was later recognized for its contribution via the SIGMOD Test of Time Award in 2000. In her 1991 VLDB paper, Professor Widom applied those results to the problem of view maintenance, providing practical guidelines for determining when materialized views can be efficiently incrementally maintained. This paper won both the Best Paper Award for the 1991 VLDB Conference as well as the Ten Year Paper Award at VLDB 2001. In the area of semi-structured data, Professor Widom’s Lore system pioneered techniques for storing, querying, and managing semi-structured data, before the emergence and popularity of XML. This work heavily influenced subsequent work on XML databases and their query languages. Professor Widom’s CQL language is widely regarded as having brought structure and well-thought-out semantics to the problem of querying streams; it is proving foundational for the StreamSQL standardization effort by IBM, Oracle, StreamBase, and others. Recently, Professor Widom has turned her attention to uncertainty and data lineage in her TRIO project, and this work appears to be again spearheading a new research thrust for the database community.