Databases in Grid Applications: Locality and Distribution


September 29, 2005


Paul Watson


Newcastle University & North East Regional e-Science Centre


This talk focuses on two areas that experience in building database-oriented e-science applications has shown to be important. Firstly, methods of promoting data locality are vital due to the high cost of moving data in service based distributed systems. Databases provide an excellent basis for achieving this due to their potential for moving computation to data. I will describe a new infrastructure that further promotes locality by enabling service-based computations to migrate to data. Secondly, the ability to combine information from a set of distributed databases has proved invaluable in many applications. I will describe the design of an adaptive distributed query processing system that is able to exploit the facilities offered by an underlying grid infrastructure. This includes dynamic re-optimization as the pool of available resources changes, and the ability to tolerate node failure.

The talk will also include a brief overview of research at the UK’s North East Regional e-Science Centre, which Paul Watson directs. This includes work on bioinformatics, distributed databases, scalability and virtual organizations.


Paul Watson

Paul Watson is Professor of Computer Science at Newcastle University (UK) and Director of the North East Regional e-Science Centre. He graduated in 1983 with a BSc in Computer Engineering from Manchester University, followed by a PhD in 1986. In the 80s, as a Lecturer at Manchester University, he was a designer of the Alvey Flagship and Esprit EDS parallel systems. In 1990 he moved to industry, working for ICL as a system designer of the Goldrush MegaServer parallel database server, which was released as a product in 1994.In August 1995 he moved to Newcastle University, where he is/has been an investigator on research projects worth approximately $20M. His research has been focussed on parallel and distributed systems: in particular on database servers. In recent years his work has focussed on e-science, especially on methods of accessing and integrating large amounts of data held in distributed databases.In total, he has authored over forty refereed publications and three patents. He is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the British Computer Society, and a member of the UK Computing Research Committee.