Dr. Gray joined Microsoft in 1995 as a Technical Fellow, researcher, and manager of the Bay Area Research Center. His primary research interests were large databases and transaction processing systems. He had a long-standing interest in scalable computing, building super-servers and work group systems from commodity software and hardware. His work since 2002 focused on eScience: applying computers to solve data-intensive scientific problems. This is being posited as the fourth paradigm of science after experimentation, theory, and simulation.
Jim pioneered database technology and was among the first to develop the technology used in computerized transactions. His work helped develop e-commerce, online ticketing, and automated teller machines. His later work on database technology has been used by oceanographers, geologists, and astronomers. Among his accomplishments at Microsoft are the TerraServer website and his work on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Microsoft's World Wide Telescope software is dedicated to Jim.
On January 28, 2007, Jim disappeared at sea. In May 2008, a formal tribute and technical session was held at Jim's alma mater, UC Berkeley. Hundreds of his friends and colleagues gathered together to celebrate his life, his friendships, and his achievements in the field of computer science.
- CIDR 2007 and HPTS 2007 local arrangements
- ACM Turning Award Committee
- ACM 2007 Federated Research Conferences Plenary speaker chair
- Association of Computing Machinery, Fellow
- National Academy of Engineering, Member, (Computer Science Section Chair)
- National Academy of Science, Member, (Membership Committee)
- American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Member
- European Academy of Sciences, Member
- National Research Council, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board LC21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress (2001).
- Stanford University School of Engineering, Advisory Board Member
- Presidential Advisory Committee on Information Technology
- “Designing and Building TerraService,” Tom Barclay, Jim Gray, Steve Ekblad, Eric Strand, Jeffrey Richter, IEEE Internet Computing, V10.5, pp 61-2 September 2006
- “The Fourth Data Release of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey,” Adelman-McCarthy, J.K. et al., ApJ, 162, pp 38-48 (2006)
- “Cosmological Parameters from Eigenmode Analysis of Sloan Digital Sky Survey Galaxy Redshifts,” A. Pope, et. al., ApJ. 607 (2004) 655-660
- “From FITS to SQL — Loading and Publishing the SDSS Data,” Proc. ADASS XIII, ASP Conference Series, eds: F. Ochsenbein, M. Allen and D. Egret, 314, 38 (2004).
- “Open SkyQuery — VO Compliant Dynamic Federation of Astronomical Archives,” Budavari, T., Szalay, A.S, Malik, T., Thakar, A., O’Mullane, W., Williams, R., Gray, J., Mann, R., Yasuda, N.,Proc. ADASS XIII, ASP Conference Series, eds: F.Ochsenbein, M.Allen and D.Egret, 314, 177 (2004).
- “HTM2: Spatial Toolkit for the Virtual Observatory,” Fekete, G., Szalay, A.S., Gray, J,Proc. ADASS XIII, ASP Conference Series, eds: F. Ochsenbein, M. Allen and D. Egret, 314, 289 (2004).
- “Batch Query System with Interactive local storage for SDSS and the VO,” O’Mullane, W., Gray, J., Li, N., Budavari, T., Nieto Santisteban, M., Szalay, A.S, Proc. ADASS XIII, ASP Conference Series, eds: F.Ochsenbein, M.Allen and D.Egret, 314, 372 (2004).
- “ImgCutout, an Engine of Instantaneous Astronomical Discovery,” Nieto-Santisteban, M., Szalay, A.S., Gray, J.: Proc. ADASS XIII, ASP Conference Series, eds: F. Ochsenbein, M Allen and D. Egret, 314, 666 (2004).
- “The Second Data Release of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey,” K. Abazajian, et. al., ApJ,128, 502 (2004).
- “Data Organization of the SDSS Data Release 1,” Thakar, A.R., Szalay A.S., Vandenberg, J., Gray. J., Stoughton, C., Proc. ADASS XII, ASP Conference Series, eds: H.Payne, R.I. Jedrzejewski and R.N.Hook, 295, 217 (2003).
- “The Sloan Digital Sky Survey Quasar Catalog. II. First Data Release,” D.P Schneider, et al : Astron. J., 126, 2579 (2003).
- “A conversation with Jim Gray”, ACM Queue, V 1.4, June 2003.
- “The Sloan Digital Sky Survey and its Archive,” Szalay, A.S., Kunszt, P.Z., Thakar, A., Gray, J. and Slutz, D in Proc ADASS IX, eds. N. Manset, C. Veillet, D. Crabtree, (ASP Conference series), 216, 405 (2000).
- Computing the Future: A Broader Agenda for Computer Science and EngineeringCommittee to Assess The Scope and Direction of Computer Science and Technology, J. Hartmanis (chair). National Academy Press, 1992.
- Transaction Processing: Concepts and Techniques , J. Gray, A. Reuter, 1992 by Morgan Kaufmann, San Mateo, CA.
Articles recommended by Jim Gray
Vannevar Bush’s paper: As We May Think, the 1945 Atlantic Monthly piece that is the manifesto for Information At Your Fingertips and also the Internet. In that same time Bush also wrote Science’s social contract: Science, The Endless Frontier that has guided US Science policy since then.
Ed Lazowska (U. Washington) faculty lecture on Computer Science, a more modern discussion of the social contract with a focus on computer science.
Alan Newell on how to do research (one hour video lecture) Desires and Diversions. Sage advice for scientists on how to live our professional lives.
Michael Lesk’s paper on “How much information is there in the world?”
Richard Feynman’s paper: There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom, explaining that computers could be very small (this predates VLSI) and the wonderful 1982 Feynman Lectures on Computationedited by Tony Hey and Robin Allen: Perseus Books; ISBN: 0738202967 that talks about how much energy, space, and time computations should take (close to zero), and an inscrutable (to me) introduction to quantum computing. There is also an out-of-print follow-on Feynman and Computation, Exploring the Limits of Computers edited by Tony Hey, ISBN: 0738200573.
A nice historical piece on Moore’s law (90KB html) a 1996 student papers by Bob Schaller explaining the history of the law and some of its implications.
What Next Revealed a talk by Adi Porobic on technology trends and a technolgoy forecast May 2002 (2 MB).