My name is Liang Chen. I am commonly referred to as Jeff in my professional career. I am a member of Cloud & Mobile Research Group. I obtained BS and MS from Tsinghua University, and PhD from UC San Diego.

I am generally interested in data management. While initially working on text search and ranking in my graduate studies, I gradually developed interests in building data management systems. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been trying to understand the links between SQL and NoSQL database systems, bridge the gap between them and transform today’s data platforms to new products and services. This line of work has yielded many interesting results and unanticipated business impact:

  • GraphView is a middleware on existing data platforms that presents to applications a view of a graph database, while internally maps graphs to native data structures of the underlying system and compiles graph programs into data instructions executed by it. Initially released as an open source project, GraphView not only inspired SQL Graph in SQL Server 2017, but later became the backbone of Azure Cosmos DB Graph, a globally-distributed graph database as a service.
  • JSON Server is a middleware that transforms a SQL database to a JSON database, with superior performance and functionality.
  • More previously, I was the co-inventor of XML sparse mapping, which was released in SQL Server as Selective XML Index (SXI).

Working on Azure Cosmos DB has taken me to a fantastic journey to cloud computing, where computation resources are abundant and everything is a service. Now I am interested in building a new generation of database systems, where database components are decoupled and each one of them could be a service.