Assistant Professor of Computer Science Raul Castro Fernandez was recently announced as the recipient of the 2023 ACM SIGMOD Test-of-Time Award for his work on scalable stream processing. The SIGMOD conference is widely considered one of the most prestigious and selective data management conferences in the field. The award is given to a paper that has made a profound impact in research, methodology, or practicality over the preceding decade.

Fernandez’s co-authored paper, “Integrating Scale Out and Fault Tolerance in Stream Processing using Operator State Management”, is the first to present an abstraction for exposing internal operator state through a set of well-defined state management primitives, enabling an integrated and generic approach for dynamic scale out and recovery of stateful operators in stream processing systems. The award committee cited it as “a seminal paper in its field.”

“During the last decade, I’ve talked to several engineers who have mentioned anecdotally how they have incorporated some of the techniques from that paper in their products and internal systems,” said Fernandez. “Still, my co-authors and I were surprised and very happy to receive the award, which indicates that the research community also valued the contributions of that work.”

Raul has been with the Department of Computer Science at UChicago since the end of 2019. He is part of ChiDATA: a group from UChicago that researches all things data, including large-scale video analysis, efficient data processing systems, and the economics of data. He is particularly interested in building systems to share, discover, prepare, integrate, and process data.

“Data is more important than ever before, but there are still many aspects of how we use data in practice that we don’t understand well. My research group is looking at new abstractions, techniques, and systems to understand and extract more value from data.”

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