Keynote 1

New Era in Distributed Computing with Blockchains and Databases

Dr. C. Mohan
IBM Almaden Research Center

A new era is emerging in the world of distributed computing with the growing popularity of blockchains (shared, replicated and distributed ledgers) and the associated databases as a way of integrating inter-organizational work. Originally, the concept of a distributed ledger was invented as the underlying technology of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. But the adoption and further adaptation of it for use in the commercial or permissioned environments is what is of utmost interest to me and hence will be the focus of this keynote. Computer companies like IBM and Microsoft, and many key players in different vertical industry segments have recognized the applicability of blockchains in environments other than cryptocurrencies. IBM did some pioneering work by architecting and implementing Fabric, and then open sourcing it. Now Fabric is being enhanced via the Hyperledger Consortium as part of The Linux Foundation. A few of the other efforts include Enterprise Ethereum, R3 Corda and BigchainDB.

While there is no standard in the blockchain space currently, all the ongoing efforts involve some combination of database, transaction, encryption, consensus and other distributed systems technologies. Some of the application areas in which blockchain pilots are being carried out are: smart contracts, supply chain management, know your customer, derivatives processing and provenance management. In this talk, I will survey some of the ongoing blockchain projects with respect to their architectures in general and their approaches to some specific technical areas. I will focus on how the functionality of traditional and modern data stores are being utilized or not utilized in the different blockchain projects. I will also distinguish how traditional distributed database management systems have handled replication and how blockchain systems do it. Since most of the blockchain efforts are still in a nascent state, the time is right for database and other distributed systems researchers and practitioners to get more deeply involved to focus on the numerous open problems.


Dr. C. Mohan has been an IBM researcher for 35 years in the database area, impacting numerous IBM and non-IBM products, the research and academic communities, and standards, especially with his invention of the ARIES family of database locking and recovery algorithms, and the Presumed Abort commit protocol. This IBM (1997), and ACM/IEEE (2002) Fellow has also served as the IBM India Chief Scientist for 3 years (2006-2009). In addition to receiving the ACM SIGMOD Innovation Award (1996), the VLDB 10 Year Best Paper Award (1999) and numerous IBM awards, Mohan was elected to the US and Indian National Academies of Engineering (2009), and was named an IBM Master Inventor (1997). This Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Madras (1977) received his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin (1981). He is an inventor of 47 patents. He is currently focused on Big Data, HTAP and Blockchain technologies. In 2016, he was named a Distinguished Visiting Professor of China’s prestigious Tsinghua University. He has served on the advisory board of IEEE Spectrum, and on numerous conference and journal boards. Mohan is a frequent speaker in North America, Europe and India, and has given talks in 40 countries. He is very active on social media and has a huge network of followers. More information could be found in the Wikipedia page at

Keynote 2

Web Data Management in the RDF Age

Dr. M. Tamer Özsu
University of Waterloo

Web data management has been a topic of interest for many years during which a number of different modelling approaches have been tried. The latest in this approaches is to use RDF (Resource Description Framework), which seems to provide real opportunity for querying at least some of the web data systematically. RDF has been proposed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for modeling Web objects as part of developing the “semantic web”. W3C has also proposed SPARQL as the query language for accessing RDF data repositories. The publication of Linked Open Data (LOD) on the Web has gained tremendous momentum over the last number of years, and this provides a new opportunity to accomplish web data integration. A number of approaches have been proposed for running SPARQL queries over RDF-encoded Web data: data warehousing, SPARQL federation, and live linked query execution. In this talk, I will review these approaches with particular emphasis on some of our research within the context of gStore project (joint project with Prof. Lei Zou of Peking University and Prof. Lei Chen of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology), chameleon-db project (joint work with Günes Aluç, Dr. Olaf Hartig, and Prof. Khuzaima Daudjee of University of Waterloo), and live linked query execution (joint work with Dr. Olaf Hartig).


M. Tamer Özsu is Professor of Computer Science at the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science. His research is in data management focusing on large-scale data distribution and management of non-traditional data. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He is an elected member of the Science Academy of Turkey, and a member of Sigma Xi and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). His publications include the book Principles of Distributed Database Systems (with Patrick Valduriez), which is now in its third edition. He has also edited, with Ling Liu, the Encyclopedia of Database Systems, which is now in its second edition. He was the Founding Series Editor of Synthesis Lectures on Data Management (Morgan & Claypool), and is now the Editor-in-Chief of ACM Books. He serves on the editorial boards of three journals, and two book Series. Prof. Dr. M. Tamer Özsu was awarded the ACM SIGMOD Test-of-Time Award in 2015, ACM SIGMOD Contributions Award in 2008 and the Ohio State University College of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2008.

Keynote 3

A Perspective on Distributed Computing Systems:
Past, Present and Future

Dr. Kenneth Calvert
National Science Foundation

This keynote talk will offer a broad view of distributed computing from the perspective of past and present NSF investments. It will include a look toward future challenges and opportunities facing the distributed computing research community.


Dr. Kenneth Calvert is Division Director for Computer and Network Systems in the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate at the National Science Foundation. He is on rotation from the University of Kentucky, where he is Gartner Group Professor in Network Engineering in the Department of Computer Science. His research deals with the design and implementation of advanced network protocols and services, with particular interest in routing and incentives in future network architectures. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin. He holds a M.S. in computer science from Stanford University and a B.S. in computer science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to his appointment at the University of Kentucky, he was a Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, NJ, and served on the faculty in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is an IEEE Fellow and a member of the ACM.