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Jim Gray

Jim Gray

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

Jim Gray's website.