September 9 – 13 , 1991, Dagstuhl Seminar 9137

Directions of Future Database Research


F. Bancilhon, P. Lockemann, D. Tsichritzis

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Dagstuhl-Seminar-Report 21


Database technology is a field with a well-established tradition, that has matured over the past 20 years and achieved simplicity and rigidity of its basic concepts, well-founded and well-rounded theories on the static aspects of data structuring and data distribution and on the dynamic aspects of transaction management, and solid technical solutions that transform the theoretical results to well-performing algorithms and widely available and employed database systems.

The success of database systems seems to breed among many database researchers a kind of identity crisis. On the one hand, some feel that all major results have been achieved so that there are few avenues left towards widely acclaimed theoretical, methodical or technical breakthroughs. On the other hand, many simply feel overwhelmed by the wide spectrum of challenges arising from new applications, new hardware and software techniques, and the need for interaction with other computer science disciplines, leaving them with no clear sense of direction.

There is an evident need for highly respected and experienced database researchers known for both their academic achievements and clear visions to convey a sense of direction, to identify promising avenues of research, to develop new perspectives and, above all, to convince the many young researchers who will have to carry the load to meet the scientific challenges of the future that there are more challenges than ever and that databases will remain an area of vibrant research.

With these objectives in their back, 21 reputed database researchers from all over Europe and from the United States met at Dagstuhl from September 9 to 12, 1991 for an intensive meeting of minds and an exchange of ideas on the challenges posed by evolving technologies and ever more demanding applications. They were encouraged to discuss half-baked ideas, speculate on future trends, report on experiences that they felt they had not been able to adequately confront so far. This report contains the summaries of their presentations and discussions.

All participants were enthusiastic on the quiet setting, intimate atmosphere and outstanding hospitality of Dagstuhl Castle which they felt contributed greatly to the success of the workshop. The organizers wish to extend their gratefulness to the IBFI organization.


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