Dr. Gray joined Microsoft in 1995 as a Technical Fellow, researcher, and manager of the Bay Area Research Center. His primary research interests were large databases and transaction processing systems. He had a long-standing interest in scaleable computing - building super-servers and work group systems from commodity software and hardware. His work since 2002 focused on eScience: applying computers to solve data-intensive scientific problems. This is being posited as the fourth paradigm of science after experimentation, theory, and simulation.
Jim pioneered database technology and was among the first to develop the technology used in computerized transactions. His work helped develop e-commerce, online ticketing, and automated teller machines. His later work on database technology has been used by oceanographers, geologists, and astronomers. Among his accomplishments at Microsoft are theTerraServer website and his work on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope software is dedicated to Jim.
On January 28, 2007, Jim disappeared at sea while on a solo sail to the Farallon Islands near San Francisco Bay. An unprecedented search by air, sea, and satellite was conducted, but offered no clues to the whereabouts of Jim and his boat, Tenacious. Jim's family officially called off the search efforts on May 31, 2007. A year later on May 31, 2008, a formal tribute and technical session was held for Jim on the campus of his alma mater, UC Berkeley. Hundreds of his friends and colleagues gathered together to celebrate his life, his friendships, and his achievements in the field of computer science.
Since Jim's disappearance, we (his colleagues in Microsoft Research) have heard from many of his collaborators about projects and collaborations that he had underway with them and who are unsure how to proceed. If you find yourself in this situation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Gray's website.
- Jim Gray, Alex Szalay, Tamás Budavári, Ani R. Thakar, Maria A. Nieto-Santisteban, and Robert Lupton, Cross-Matching Multiple Spatial Observations and Dealing with Missing Data, no. MSR-TR-2006-175, December 2006.
- Vik Singh, Jim Gray, Ani R. Thakar, Alexander S. Szalay, Jordan Raddick, Bill Boroski, Svetlana Lebedeva, and Brian Yanny, SkyServer Traffic Report — The First Five Years, no. MSR-TR-2006-190, December 2006.
- Naga K. Govindaraju, Scott Larsen, Jim Gray, and Dinesh Manocha, A Memory Model for Scientific Algorithms on Graphics Processors, no. MSR-TR-2006-108, August 2006.
- Tom Barclay, Jim Gray, Steve Ekblad, Eric Strand, and Jeffrey Richter, TerraService: Design and Construction of GIS Web Services, in IEEE Internet Computing ICSI-0040-0206 Special Issue - Web Services for Geographic Information Systems, July 2006.
- Katalin Szlavecz, Andreas Terzis, R\u azvan Mus\u aloiu-E, Joshua Cogan, Sam Small, Stuart Ozer, Randal Burns, Jim Gray, and Alexander S. Szalay, Life Under Your Feet: An End-to-End Soil Ecology Sensor Network, Database, Web Server, and Analysis Service, in 3rd Workshop on Embedded Networked Sensors (EmNets 2006), Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, May 2006.
- Jim Gray and Alex Szalay, The World Wide Telescope, in MSDN Magazine, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 6, April 2006.
- Russell Sears, Catharine Van Ingen, and Jim Gray, To BLOB or Not To BLOB: Large Object Storage in a Database or a Filesystem, no. MSR-TR-2006-45, April 2006.
- Jim Gray, María A. Nieto-Santisteban, and Alexander S. Szalay, The Zones Algorithm for Finding Points-Near-a-Point or Cross-Matching Spatial Datasets, no. MSR-TR-2006-52, April 2006.
- Gerd Heber and Jim Gray, Supporting Finite Element Analysis with a Relational Database Backend Part II: Database Design and Access, no. MSR-TR-2006-21, February 2006.
- Gordon Bell, Jim Gray, and Alex Szalay, Petascale Computational Systems: Balanced Cyber-Infrastructure in a Data-Centric World, in IEEE Computer, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 110-112, January 2006.