Joy Arulraj Wins Dissertation Award for Pioneering Database Systems Work

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School of Computer Science Assistant Professor Joy Arulraj has won the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Management Of Data (ACM SIGMOD)’s Jim Gray Doctoral Dissertation Award for his work, The Design and Implementation of Non-Volatile Memory Database Management Systems. This award is given to the best database systems dissertation from the previous year.

Arulraj’s dissertation made significant breakthroughs in how database systems use memory. Historically, database system performance has been limited by the trade-offs between volatile memory and non-volatile storage devices, but non-volatile memory has revolutionized its potential.

 “The arrival of new non-volatile memory devices invalidates the key design assumptions in database systems,” Arulraj said. “Non-volatile memory offers an intriguing blend of traditional memory and storage technologies. It supports fast reads and writes similar to volatile memory, but all writes are persistent like a disk”.

Arulraj’s dissertation explored how the core components of a database system must be redesigned for non-volatile memory. To put this into practice, Arulraj and a team of students at Carnegie Mellon created Peloton, an experimental database system tailored for non-volatile memory devices.

“When we started this project in 2013, it was a moonshot,” he said. “We were not sure if non-volatile memory technologies would ever see the light of day, but Intel has finally started shipping non-volatile memory devices in 2019. I am super excited about the impact of non-volatile memory on next-generation database systems.”

This work was done in collaboration with Intel Labs as part of the Intel Science & Technology Center for Big Data. Joy’s dissertation was published as a book by Morgan & Claypool in 2019, Non-Volatile Memory Database Management Systems.


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