Northwest Database Society (NWDS)

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.

We thank our partners for supporting NWDS:

Upcoming Talks

Speaker: Neal Fachan

Where: University of Washington, Seattle.
Computer Science and Engineering Department.
Paul Allen Center, CSE 305.

When: Friday, December 8, 2017.

Title: Building a Distributed, Protected and Transactional Block Store

Abstract: (coming soon)

Bio: Neal Fachan is a co-founder and Chief Scientist at Qumulo. He brings 20 years of systems software experience to Qumulo. At Amazon Web Services, he designed and led development of advanced database technologies. Prior to Amazon, Neal was Distinguished Engineer at Isilon, where he provided technical vision for Isilon’s award-winning OneFS clustered file system, resulting in more than thirty patented technologies. Prior to Isilon, Neal worked in the Third Market group at D. E. Shaw. Neal holds a degree in Math and Computer Science from the University of New Mexico.

Speaker: Oliver Kennedy

Where: University of Washington, Seattle.
Computer Science and Engineering Department.
Paul Allen Center, CSE 305.

When: Monday, December 11, 2017.

Title: Reliably Managing Unreliable Data

Abstract: We've all seen news articles where data errors have severe implications on the real world, like a 12-year old being labeled a terrorist by "the system" and denied boarding on a flight with his parents. Heuristic guesses like this are often treated as facts because databases simply have no better way of representing them. In this talk, I outline our efforts to make uncertain data management easier through a probabilistic database system called Mimir. First, I will outline how rethinking uncertainty as a form of provenance metadata facilitates more natural and more efficient interactions with the database. Then, I will introduce Mimir's declarative approach to uncertainty in data, which allows it to decouple query processing from from more mechanical concerns like how to present uncertainty in query results, or which algorithms to use.

This work is supported by NSF Award ACI-1640864, NPS Award #N00244-16-1-0022, and gifts from Oracle.

Bio: Oliver Kennedy has been an assistant professor at the University at Buffalo, SUNY since 2012. He earned his PhD from Cornell University in 2011. Oliver's Online Data Interactions (ODIn) lab operates at the intersection of database and programming language techniques. The ODIn lab is currently exploring issues related to the usability of uncertain data management systems, making index structures adapt to changing workloads, and modeling SQL workloads.

Past Talks

Listed in reverse chronological order. Click here for abstracts.

Fall 2017

Spring 2017

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.