Northwest Database Society (NWDB)

Mission Statement

The goal of NWDS is to bring together researchers and practitioners in the field of databases and data management systems working in the Pacific North-West.

One of our main activities is a talk series with a variety of distinguished speakers from academia and industry. These talks are also part of the Microsoft Database Lecture Series (sponsored by Microsoft). This quarter’s talks are organized by Alvin.

Upcoming Talks

Speaker: Frank McSherry

Where: University of Washington, Seattle.
Allen School of Computer Science.
Allen Center, Gates Commons.

When: Friday, May 26, 2017. 2:30pm-3:30pm.

Title: Building modern dataflow systems

Abstract: I'll talk through the design and implementation of "timely dataflow in Rust", an open-source project that extends and enriches the "timely dataflow" computational model first presented by the Naiad system, and the differential dataflow framework built on top of it. The project's goal is to provide an near-zero overhead framework for data-parallel dataflow, and to this end it simplifies and unifies several of Naiad's concepts through lossless abstractions that largely compile away. Our experience has been that timely dataflow programs give best-in-class performance, while still providing the experience of a medium-to-high level programming language. To support this, I'll walk through the example of differential dataflow, an incremental compute framework which seems to out-perform the current crop of specialized data processing systems, in part due to its ability to provide general computation abstractions that compile down to sequential scans over carefully managed resources.
These projects are joint work with a great many people, including the Naiad team at MSR-SV, the Systems Group at ETH Zürich, and many other collaborators.

Bio: Frank McSherry received his PhD from the University of Washington, working with Anna Karlin on spectral analysis of data. He then spent twelve years at Microsoft Research's Silicon Valley research center, working on topics ranging from differential privacy to data-parallel computation. He currently does pro-bono research on topics related to privacy, transparency, and scalable computation.

Past Talks

Listed in reverse chronological order. Click here for abstracts.

Winter 2017

Fall 2016

Spring 2016

Winter 2016

Fall 2015

Earlier talks

Mailing List

Please sign up for the nwds mailing list here. We use this list primarily to send announcements for upcoming events. After you register, you can send mail to that list at nwds at

To become a member, please contact Magda or Alvin.


The North-West Database Society was founded on January 1st 2006 by Dan Suciu and Magdalena Balazinska. It is inspired by the New-England Database Society.