Faculty Profile

Victor D. Vianu

Professor, Computer Science and Engineering

Reinventing the database in response to recent developments, including the emergence of the World Wide Web.

The Web itself can be seen as a huge distributed database. This fundamentally changes the very concept of a database. An expert in both classical database theory, logic, and data on the Web, Professor Vianu can put this dynamic into perspective. One contribution to classical database theory is the "relational machine," devised to better account for computational complexity in modern databases. Relational databases are accessed through abstract interfaces, making them easier to use, but masking low-level details both from users and classical mechanisms for analyzing complexity, such as Turing machines. Relational machines capture such complexity. Vianu has proven that automata theory provides a valuable tool for analyzing modern query languages on data in XML form, the emerging Web standard for data exchange. XML and the Web increasingly form Vianu's focus. He is: developing type-checking algorithms to guarantee the robustness of applications built using XML; studying database response to queries with only partial information available; and, exploring how useful data can be extracted from streams of XML wrapped data. Vianu has also worked on spatial databases, showing how queries can take advantage of annotations about the spatial data. For example, topological data about a geographic information system can significantly speed up query processing.

Capsule Bio:

Victor Vianu received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California in 1983 and joined UC San Diego in 1984.  He has also spent numerous sabbaticals as invited professor at INRIA, where he now holds an International Chair. Vianu's interests include database theory, computational logic, and Web data. His most recent research focuses on specification and verification of data‐driven Web services and workflows. Vianu's publications include over 100 research articles and a graduate textbook on database theory. He received the PODS Alberto Mendelzon Test‐of‐Time Award twice, in 2010 and 2015. Vianu has given numerous invited talks including keynotes at PODS, ICDT, STACS, the Annual Meeting of the Association of Symbolic Logic, and the Federated Logic Conference. He has served as General Chair of SIGMOD and PODS, and Program Chair of the PODS and ICDT conferences. He served for six years as Editor‐in‐Chief of the Journal of the ACM and is Area Editor of ACM Transactions on Computational Logic. Vianu was elected Fellow of the ACM in 2006, Fellow of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) in 2013, and is a member of Academia Europaea.


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