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. This project has led to Microsoft’s SQL Always Encrypted product. 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 involved in the Socrates project (SQL Hyperscale) and 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 am an ACM Fellow. 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).
New: I wrote a book that explains basic concepts of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence to teenagers. It should be readable by a teenager in an afternoon. The e-book is available on Amazon: Amazon.com: The Magic of Computer Science eBook: Kossmann, Donald: Kindle Store (opens in new tab)
Microsoft Research Podcast
Episode 107 | February 19, 2020 - Dr. Donald Kossmann is a Distinguished Scientist who thinks big, and as the Director of Microsoft Research’s flagship lab in Redmond, it’s his job to inspire others to think big, too. But don’t be fooled. For him, thinking big involves what he calls thinking backwards, a framework of imagining the future, defining progress in reverse order and executing against landmarks along an uncertain path. On the podcast, Dr. Kossmann reflects on his life as a database researcher and tells us how Socrates, an innovative database-as-a-service architecture, is re-envisioning traditional database design. He also reveals the five superpowers of Microsoft Research and how we can improve science… with marketing.