Peter Buneman

The Providence of Provenance

The study of data provenance was initiated over 20 years ago.  It continues to attract a lively research community, but what practical impact has there been?   In this talk I will attempt a survey of the topic and look at some of the recent developments.  From a technical perspective, the techniques used to describe provenance have also stimulated some quite practical optimization techniques, e.g., in computations on graphs.  From a social perspective, the requirement of keeping provenance may create further challenges in  graph computation and other areas of computer science

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Peter Buneman is Professor of Database Systems in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh.  His work in computer science has focused mainly on databases and programming languages, specifically: database semantics, approximate information, query languages, types for databases, data integration, bioinformatics and semistructured data.  He has been stimulated by issues associated with scientific databases such as data provenance, archiving and annotation. 
In addition he has made contributions to graph theory and to the mathematics of phylogeny.  He has served on numerous program committees, editorial boards and working groups, and has been program chair for the leading database theory and systems conferences: ACM SIGMOD, ACM PODS, VLDB and ICDT. He spends part of his time in the Scottish Highlands and has initiated a project that provides high-speed internet access to some of the most remote communities of Scotland. He is a fellow of the Royal Society, a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a fellow of the ACM, a member of Academia Europaea and the recipient of a Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award.