Oct 12, 2017 6:00 PMEnd Time:
Oct 12, 2017 9:00 PMLocation:
Constant Contact Reservoir Place
1601 Trapelo Road Waltham MA 021451
Speaker: Ryan Wisnesky
In this talk we describe a new algebraic approach to databases based on category theory, a branch of mathematics which has already revolutionized several areas of computer science (including functional programming) and which provides theoretical guidance missing from the relational, graph, XML and RDF data models. In summary, we conceptualize a database schema as a category, and from this simple definition obtain a basis of operations sufficient to query data (providing an alternative to SQL), migrate data (providing an alternative to ETL tools such as Informatica), and integrate data (providing an alternative to integration tools such as Tamr).
This project originated in the MIT math department in 2010 and has culminated in a Java-based open-source data manipulation tool, AQL, available at http://categoricaldata.net/aql.html, as well as a start-up company, Categorical Informatics, commercializing AQL with the support of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This project was briefly described in a NEJUG lightning talk in the Spring of 2016, and in this talk we expand on both the technical specifics from the previous talk and demonstrate additional progress that has been made toward making AQL industrial strength - including significant performance and expressivity improvements. No knowledge of category theory is required to understand the talk.
Ryan Wisnesky obtained B.S. and M.S. degrees in mathematics and computer science from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in computer science from Harvard University, where he studied the design and implementation of provably correct software systems. Previously, he was a postdoctoral associate in the MIT department of mathematics, where he developed the algebraic query language AQL. He currently leads AQL-related commercialization activities at Categorical Informatics, Inc. He maintains an active collaboration with the information-integration department of IBM Research, where he contributed to the Clio, Orchid, and HIL projects.