Let’s Make Databases Cool! Zachary Ives University of Pennsylvania CIDR January 6, 2005
Does anyone want tohang out with DB people? The Ugly Ogres of the Computer Science Curriculum? What are the “cool” courses every top undergrad wants to take in your department? • Robotics • Graphics and animation • Natural language • Distributed games • … even Java programming
Why Do Students Take DBs? $ • Good for their resumes • “We’re a $25+ billion industry”! • They’re not planning on being computer scientists – “databases are useful in field X” • Nothing else is being offered concurrently • … $ $
Why Aren’t We Cool? A recent nationwide survey* on the most prestigious fields: • scientists, doctors, teachers, … The least prestigious: • real estate agents, bankers, stockbrokers, … • We’re still perceived to be running payroll and purchase systems – who does that associate us with??? * Courtesy of Southwest Airlines’ in-flight magazine
What Topics Are Cool and Exciting? • XML • Anything Web • … especially Web Services • Google and search • Slashdot, Amazon, … • Peer-to-peer • Distributed games
What Topics Are Cool and Exciting? • XML • Anything Web • … especially Web Services • Google and search • Slashdot, Amazon, … • Peer-to-peer • Distributed games No databases here…
What Topics Are Cool and Exciting? • XML • Anything Web • … especially Web Services • Google and search • Slashdot, Amazon, … • Peer-to-peer • Distributed games No databases here… SO LET’S STOP TEACHING DATABASES!
How to Be Cool and Get Students Excited • We’re at the heart of all of the cool topics – if we broaden our scope to data management • XML, schemas, standards • Physical data independence • Data interchange, semantic mediation • State representation • Storage, partitioning, … • Peer-to-peer and other architectures • Also, we are a natural bridge area between distributed systems, information retrieval, Web, AI – let’s exploit this!
Growing Our Mind-Share in Computer Science My experience - CSE 455, Internet & Web Systems @U. Penn: • Web protocols and server architectures • Data integration • P2P • Information retrieval, Web Search • Web Services • Build a P2P mini-Google web crawler and search engine This is a great way of hooking students on our topics: • Teaching eval: “I have no idea why I found the topics of this course so interesting, but I did!” • Email from student on internship: “I was so thrilled when to find the topics I was going to work on were the ones you taught!” • Several took my grad – and advanced grad – database courses subsequently! • … Also, happy students give good teaching evals!!! (Similar course & experiences with EECS 485 @ U. Michigan)