Computer Systems Laboratory Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, October 31, 2001
NEC Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B03

Exploiting Simulations to Build Real Information Systems

Gio Wiederhold
Emeritus Professor of Computer Science
Stanford University
About the talk:
Today's information systems are based on database technology, which only can give information about the past, while decision-making must also project the effect of today's decisions into the future. We have developed a prototype, SimQL, which integrates simulations into information systems, with an internal interfaces that mirrors SQL.

The intent of SimQL to support an architecture where information systems not only extend their capabilities into the future, but also support the assessment of the effects of alternate decisions, so that multiple future courses can be compared. We expect that making results of simulations as accessible as other information components, as databases and web-based data are today, will greatly augment the effectiveness of integrated information systems for end-users.

SimQL can provide information from a variety of simulations that information can be projected into the future. Simulations to be wrapped for SimQL access range from spreadsheets to large remote continuous simulations, as used for weather forecasting. Results from SimQL produce pairs of data elements, the expected value and its certainty.

SimQL is not a language for programming the supporting simulations, just as SQL is not the language used to write a DBMS. The motivating concept is that having an interface language allows separation of customers and information providers. In turn, the autonomy created by the language interface allows progress by information customers and their information providers to be made independently.

About the speaker:

Gio Wiederhold is an emeritus professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, with courtesy appointments in Medicine and Electrical Engineering. Since 1976 he has supervised 31 PhD theses in these departments. Current research includes privacy protection in collaborative settings, large-scale software composition, access to simulations to augment decision-making capabilities for information systems, and developing an algebra over ontologies.

Wiederhold has authored and coauthored more than 350 publications and reports on computing and medicine, including an early popular Database Design textbook, being republished in an ACM anthology. He initiated knowledge-base research through a white paper to DARPA in 1977, combining databases and Artificial intelligence technology. The results led eventually to the concept of mediator architectures.

Wiederhold was born in Italy, received a degree in Aeronautical Engineering in Holland in 1957 and a PhD in Medical Information Science from the University of California at San Francisco in 1976. Prior to his academic career he spent 16 years in the software industry. His career followed computer technologies, starting with numerical analysis applied to rocket fuel, FORTRAN and PL/1 compilers, real-time data acquisition, a time-oriented database system, eventually becoming a corporate software architect.

Contact information:

Gio Wiederhold
Computer Science Department
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305