TED Learn: Towards Technology-Enabled Database Education

Sourav Bhowmick (NTU Singapore)

There is continuous demand for database-literate professionals in today’s market due to widespread usage of relational database management system (RDBMS) in the commercial world. Such commercial demand has played a pivotal role in the offering of database systems course as part of an undergraduate computer science (CS) degree program in major universities around the world. Furthermore, not all working adults dealing with RDBMS have taken an undergraduate database course. Hence, they often need to undergo on-the-job training or attend relevant courses in higher institutes of learning to acquire database literacy. Database courses in major institutes rely on textbooks, lectures, and off-the-shelf RDBMS to impart relevant knowledge such as how SQL queries are processed. Major database textbooks as well as lectures introduce the general (i.e., not tied to any specific RDBMS software) theories and principles using natural language-based narratives and visual examples. This textbook-learning is complemented with hands on interaction with an off-the-shelf RDBMS (e.g., PostgreSQL) to infuse knowledge about database techniques used in practice. However, these RDBMS are designed primarily for commercial purpose and not for pedagogical support. In this talk, we present ongoing work that aims to arm these off-the-shelf RDBMS with techniques to facilitate inquire-driven database education. Specifically, we talk about natural language interaction with query execution plans to enhance understanding of SQL query processing among learners. Nikolay Yakovets is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). His main area of study is databases and data intensive systems. His current focus is on design and implementation of core database technologies, management of massive graph data, and efficient processing of queries on graphs.

Sourav S Bhowmick is an Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science and Engineering (SCSE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is the founder of the Data Management Research Group at NTU (DANTE). He was a Visiting Associate Professor from 2007 to 2013 at the Biological Engineering Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA. Sourav’s core research expertise is in data management, human-data interaction, and data analytics. His research interests are multi-area (e.g., data management and HCI) and multi-disciplinary (e.g., system biology and data analytics, social psychology and data analytics, abstract art and social analytics) in flavor, focusing primarily on developing novel paradigms, algorithms, technology, and software to improve efficiency of software as well as humans. He has published more than 100 papers in top-tier data management, data mining, multimedia, bioinformatics, and systems biology conferences and journals such as ACM SIGMOD, VLDB, ACM WWW, ACM MM, ACM SIGIR, VLDB Journal, Bioinformatics, and Biophysical Journal. His work on influence maximization in competitive networks received Best Paper Award Nomination in ACM SIGMOD 2015. His work on mining structural evolution of tree-structured data and functional summaries received Best Interdisciplinary Paper Award and Best Paper Award in ACM CIKM 2004 and ACM BCB 2011, respectively. His XML data management framework for biological data was part of the product of a local startup, HeliXense Pte Ltd, in 2002. More recently, his data-driven Conflicts of Interest (COI) detection system called CLOSET has been deployed in several premium conferences. Sourav regularly serves as a reviewer for data management, data mining, and bioinformatics venues. He has served/serving as a program chair/co-chair of several international conferences and workshops including ACM CIKM 2020, IEEE BigComp 2018, DASFAA 2014, DEXA 2009, and DEXA 2008. He has also served/serving as Group Leader (area chair) for VLDB, SIGMOD, ICDE, and DASFAA. Sourav has been panelist, tutorial and keynote speaker in several international conferences (including SIGMOD, VLDB). He is a member of the editorial boards of several international journals (e.g., IEEE TKDE, JASIST, SIGMOD Record). Sourav is a co-recipient of the VLDB Service Award in 2018 from the VLDB Endowment for his contribution in designing an efficient PVLDB proceedings management framework. He is also conferred Distinguished PVLDB2020 Review Board Member Award in 2020 for outstanding services to VLDB 2020 and data management community. Sourav was inducted into Distinguished Members of the ACM in 2020 for “outstanding scientific contributions to computing”. Sourav is a passionate educator and was Nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2020. He is an avid visual artist.