Brussels / 4 & 5 February 2017


Interview with Peter Baumann
Datacubes on Steroids with ISO Array SQL. Open Source, Open Standards, Open Terabytes

Photo of Peter Baumann

Peter Baumann will give a talk about Datacubes on Steroids with ISO Array SQL. Open Source, Open Standards, Open Terabytes at FOSDEM 2017.

Q: Could you briefly introduce yourself?

Peter Baumann, Bavarian, Principal Architect of rasdaman (which has pioneered Array Databases), editor of a couple of Big Data standards, OSGeo Charter Member.

Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic?

A new standard is in the making which will be a gamechanger in scientific & engineering data & beyond: SQL/MDA (“Multi-Dimensional Arrays”). The standard will likely be released in summer 2017, after several years of intense preparation. This is an opportunity for the community to get a sneak preview, and the opportunity to discuss with the standards initiator and editor.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish by giving this talk? What do you expect?

A good discussion :)

Q: Why is it so important to support multi-dimensional arrays (also called datacubes) in SQL?
  1. Declarative queries, where SQL has been and is the spearhead, are a promising answer to the “ship code to data” paradigm in “Big Data”. They allow flexibility on the client side as well as scalability on the server side.

  2. More and more, n-D arrays are being recognized as being responsible for a large part of our “Big Data”. However, arrays never come alone, they need to be integrated - hence, coupling of array models and others like sets - this is SQL - and hierarchies - like with XQuery - is an important next step (in database research cross-model integration today is termed “polystores”).

Q: What’s the history of the rasdaman project? Why was it started and how did it evolve?

1994 - As a spinoff from my PhD thesis, the first VLDB (Very Large Data Base) article has been published on the idea of having declarative query support + a scalable architecture specifically for n-D arrays.

1996 - “RasDaMan” as a first feasibility study.

2003 - rasdaman GmbH established.

2008 - Together with Jacobs University, rasdaman GmbH forked the open source “rasdaman community” project.

2008 - OGC WCPS standard published, based on the query model of rasdaman.

2016 - ISO SQL/MDA specification finished.

… plus inbetween a couple of innovation awards.

Q: What does the rasdaman project’s community look like? How can interested people help?

Discussion & contribution is possible (and actively pursued) through the rasdaman-dev and rasdaman-users mailing lists. Everybody is invited to contribute (going through rigorous quality checking, though), and contributions are acknowledged visibly in the commit logs (e.g., we refuse to submit patches on behalf of others). We had and have external contributors, the farthest from New Zealand.

Q: Which new features can we expect this year in rasdaman?

…plus likely more, in response to data center needs expressed (such as from

Q: Have you enjoyed previous FOSDEM editions?

Indeed, I participated in and enjoyed FOSDEM 2015 where I reported on the OGC coverage standards.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons License

This interview is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium License.