MADISON, Wis. — Oct. 18, 2010 — Expanding a center of excellence for next-generation computing technologies, Microsoft Corp. today unveiled a $3.5 million upgrade to its database research lab near the campus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Named the Jim Gray Systems Lab after the late influential Microsoft researcher, the lab will move to new quarters today, reopening just off campus on West Main Street with three times the space, new equipment, and room for 30 researchers and staff.
“It’s been a very successful partnership between industry and academia. We’re ecstatic about the growth of the lab and the exciting, real-world work we’re doing there,” said David DeWitt, a Microsoft technical fellow and University of Wisconsin-Madison computer science emeritus professor who has led the lab since its opening in 2008.
Like the lab’s namesake, DeWitt has a reputation as a pioneer in database architecture and management, an underappreciated aspect of computing that is ever more vital to the underpinnings of our data-rich lives. “Every bit of electronic commerce, every bank account, every health record … every piece of information that is mission-critical to a company or to government or most organizations is handled by databases,” DeWitt said.
Microsoft’s Business Platform Division also sees the lab as pivotal to company priorities such as cloud computing, a new way of pooling computing resources and delivering computer services via the Internet. The current staff of nine full-timers has already contributed to many current Microsoft products and has work lined up for future Microsoft developments.
“Since 2008, the lab’s work has generated impactful contributions to Microsoft’s SQL Server business. This new expansion enhances the strong research and technical collaboration that we have with the University of Wisconsin,” said Ted Kummert, senior vice president of the Business Platform Division at Microsoft.
“The partnership between Microsoft and the University of Wisconsin is emblematic of ‘The Wisconsin Idea,’ the notion that academia, business and government should work together for the common good,” said Rep. Tammy Baldwin, 2nd Congressional District “The results are new ideas and technologies that help grow the local and national economy.”