Portrait of Donald Kossmann

Donald Kossmann

Distinguished Scientist and Director of Redmond Lab


I am the director of the Microsoft Research Lab in Redmond. The Redmond Lab does research in all core areas of computer science. Specifically, our areas of expertise include algorithms, cryptography, databases, data analytics, audio & acoustics, distributed systems, formal methods, graphics, HCI, HW/SW co-design, networks (mobile and datacenter networks), operating systems, programming languages, security, and software engineering. The lab works closely with business groups throughout the company. Furthermore, it collaborates openly with universities and the scientific communities. We cover the whole spectrum from fundamental, basic research to technology transfer as part of high-risk and high-potential projects.

In my own research, I work on data management in the cloud. My goal is to make data in the cloud cheaper, more valuable, and more secure. I am part of the Cipherbase project which explores confidentiality and integrity of database systems against insider attacks. Furthermore, I am interested in new database system architectures that improve the availability (fault-tolerance), performance, and cost of a database system in the cloud. I am a strong believer in decomposing the traditional monolithic database architecture to achieve these goals.

I spent most of my career in academia. I was a professor in the Systems Group of the Department of Computer Science at ETH Zurich for 13 years, doing research and teaching all flavors of data management systems. I was chair of ACM SIGMOD from 2013 to 2017 and served on the Board of Trustees of the VLDB Endowment from 2005 to 2011. I am a co-founder of four companies: i-TV-T AG (1998), XQRL Inc. (2002), 28msec Inc. (2006), and Teralytics AG (2010).