Portrait of Umar Farooq Minhas

Umar Farooq Minhas

Principal Researcher


I am a Principal Researcher in the Database Group at Microsoft Research. I specialize in the systems aspects of database management and big data analytics platforms. My current research interests include: ML-based (or learned) indexing techniques in databases systems, cloud-based big data analytics services, next-gen virtualization (Docker & Kubernetes), and benchmarking. In the past, I have worked on exploiting virtualization to improve various aspects of database systems, performance modeling and analysis, highly available and fault tolerant systems, multi-agent systems, trust modeling, and vehicular ad-hoc networks.

Before joining Microsoft Research, I worked as a Research Staff Member at the IBM Almaden Research Center. While at IBM, I was co-leading various efforts around big data storage, scheduling, resource provisioning, next generation platforms, and Watson services. My research ideas have been commercialized in IBM Big SQL, a SQL-on-Hadoop platform, and in IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS), a highly scalable, distributed file system.

I received a PhD and a Masters of Mathematics in Computer Science from the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo working under the supervision of Dr. Ashraf Aboulnaga. While at the University of Waterloo, I was a member of the Database Research Group (now Data Systems Group). The specific focus of my PhD thesis is to implement highly available, fault tolerant, and scalable database systems suited for cloud computing environments. I also hold a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences.