The Data Landscape: Trends and Directions


It has been four decades since the commercial emergence of relational database management systems. Since that time, I worked on various database management topics at the birthplace of the relational model and the SQL language, until my retirement about 3 years ago as an IBM Fellow at IBM Research in Silicon Valley. As someone who has been, and who continues to be, active as an individual contributor in the database area for over four and a half decades, in this talk, I will give a broad overview of the evolution of the data landscape. I will discuss not only research topics but also the trends in the commercial and standards arenas. I will also present market share numbers from data analysts. I intend for my observations to be of value to not only deeply technical people in the research and product spaces but also to management and administration type people who are responsible for data related topics.


Dr. C. Mohan is currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University in China, a Member of the inaugural Board of Governors of Digital University Kerala, and an Advisor of the Kerala Blockchain Academy (KBA) and the Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency (TNeGA) in India. He retired in June 2020 from being an IBM Fellow at the IBM Almaden Research Center in Silicon Valley. He was an IBM researcher for 38.5 years in the database, blockchain, AI and related areas, impacting numerous IBM and non-IBM products, the research and academic communities, and standards, especially with his invention of the well-known ARIES family of database locking and recovery algorithms, and the Presumed Abort distributed commit protocol. This IBM (1997-2020), ACM (2002-) and IEEE (2002-) Fellow has also served as the IBM India Chief Scientist (2006-2009). In addition to receiving the ACM SIGMOD Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award (1996), the VLDB 10 Year Best Paper Award (1999) and numerous IBM awards, Mohan was elected to the United States and Indian National Academies of Engineering (2009), and named an IBM Master Inventor (1997). This Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Madras (1977) received his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin (1981). He is an inventor of 50 patents. During the last many years, he focused on Blockchain, AI, Big Data and Cloud technologies (, Since 2017, he has been an evangelist of permissioned blockchains and the myth buster of permissionless blockchains. During 1H2021, Mohan was the Shaw Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS) where he taught a seminar course on distributed data and computing. In 2019, he became an Honorary Advisor to TNeGA for its blockchain and other projects. In 2020, he joined the Advisory Board of KBA. Since 2016, Mohan has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor of China’s prestigious Tsinghua University. In 2021, he was inducted as a member of the inaugural Board of Governors of the new Indian university Digital University Kerala (DUK). Mohan has served on the advisory board of IEEE Spectrum, and on numerous conference and journal boards. During most of 2022, he was a non-employee consultant at Google with the title of Visiting Researcher. He has also been a Consultant to the Microsoft Data Team. Mohan is a frequent speaker in North America, Europe and Asia. He has given talks in 43 countries. He is highly active on social media and has a huge network of followers. More information can be found in the Wikipedia page at and his homepage at

Time and Location

Tuesday, March 21, 2023 @ 1:30 in room MH 225.