November 1 – 4 , 2021, Dagstuhl Seminar 21442

Ensuring the Reliability and Robustness of Database Management Systems


Alexander Böhm (SAP SE – Walldorf, DE)
Maria Christakis (MPI-SWS – Kaiserslautern, DE)
Eric Lo (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, HK)
Manuel Rigger (ETH Zürich, CH)

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List of Participants
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Dagstuhl Seminar Schedule [pdf]


Database Management Systems (DBMSs) are used ubiquitously. Due to the ever-growing performance demands and the virtually unlimited hardware resources that are provided by public cloud infrastructure providers, increasingly sophisticated systems and optimizations are developed. This is a major challenge for developers of DBMSs, which have to ensure that their system is both correct and efficient. Recent work on automatic testing of DBMSs found a large number of bugs in widely-used DBMSs, indicating that this issue deserves more attention. The goal of this Dagstuhl Seminar is to identify challenges in the domain of DBMS reliability and robustness, find new ways to tackling existing problems, and connect both practitioners as well as researchers working in this domain.

The seminar takes an interdisciplinary stance and both leading academic and industrial researchers as well as test practitioners from multiple domains have been invited. Specifically, the seminar aims to bring together experts in the domains of databases, automatic testing, as well as formal methods. We will focus the discussion on four distinct, but connected themes:

  1. Practices and challenges of ensuring the reliability of DBMSs: It is important that the seminar’s discussion is grounded and tackles the actual challenges faced by the community. Understanding the reliability challenges of DBMSs as well as the practices and innovations in the implementation and optimization of DBMSs is crucial to devise new techniques to ensure their reliability, performance, and scalability.
  2. Test oracles to validate DBMSs: Automatically testing a DBMS requires a test oracle, which determines whether the DBMS or a specific component functions as expected. The goal is to discuss test oracles and testing approaches for validating correctness, performance, security, and other properties.
  3. Automatic generation of queries and databases to test DBMSs: An effective test case is crucial to expose potential bugs through automatic and manual testing. In the context of testing DBMSs, a test case typically refers to a database and a query. The goal is to investigate different approaches to generating test cases, and how they can be effectively combined with test oracles.
  4. Formal methods and verification as applied to DBMSs: Formal methods and verification give high confidence in the correctness of a DBMS. The goal is to discuss and advance the formalization of various aspects and components of DBMSs in order to verify critical properties of them.

Motivation text license
  Creative Commons BY 3.0 DE
  Alexander Böhm, Maria Christakis, Eric Lo, and Manuel Rigger


  • Databases
  • Software Engineering


  • Automatic Testing
  • Formal Methods
  • Verification
  • Database Management Systems
  • SQL


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


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