Portrait of Donald Kossmann

Donald Kossmann

Distinguished Scientist and Director of Redmond Lab


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)