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Samuel Madden
MIT College of Computing Distinguished Professor of Computing

Email: madden AT csail DOT mit DOT edu
Phone: (617)258-6643
Assistant: Felicia Raton (fraton AT mit DOT edu)
Room 32-G938
Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)
32 Vassar St.
Cambridge, MA 02139

I am the faculty director of the Systems that Learn Initiative and co-direct the Data Systems and AI Lab and the Data Systems Group.

Personal Information

  • Short bio
  • Ph.D. (Berkeley) 2003; M.Eng. (MIT) 1999; B.S. (MIT) 1999.



My primary research focus is on database systems, including main memory databases, data warehousing/analytics, querying video data, and machine learning for data systems.

Recent and current research projects and interests include:

Past projects include:
  • Mapster a set of tools for generating street maps from satellite imagery and GPS traces.

  • Datahub, a "github for data" platform that provides hosted database storage, versioning, ingest, search, and visualization.

  • BlinkDB A system for runing queries with bounded errors and bounded response times on very large data

  • Silo, a main memory high throughput transaction processing system that uses novel concurrency control algorithms and lock free data structures to provide scalability without partitioning.

  • The CarTel networking and data management system for mobile sensor networks.

  • C-Store, a column-oriented high performance database system for warehouse and semantic web applications.

  • Relational Cloud, a project looking at building a scalable database service for the cloud.

  • H-Store, a next generation high-performance OLTP engine.

  • WaveScope, a signal-oriented stream processing system.

  • Qurk, a project investigating how people (as accessed via crowdsourcing platforms like Amazon's Mechanical Turk) can be integrated into query processing.

  • SciDB, a multi-institution project developing a data management platform for scientific applications, including astronomy and computational biology.
  • The MACAQUE project, which focused on identifying ways to make data collected from sensor networks more reliable and useful.

  • Developing novel query processing and optimization techniques for sensor networks and other acquisitional systems.

  • TinyDB (a part of TinyOS.)

  • Aurora/Borealis stream processor. TelegraphCQ continuous query processor.


Current Ph.D. students:

Graduated Ph.D. students:
  1. Daniel Abadi (U. Maryland) -- Thesis: Query execution in column-oriented database systems
  2. Adam Marcus -- Thesis: "Optimization Techniques for Human Computation-enabled Data Processing Systems"
  3. Ryan Newton (U. of Indiana) -- Thesis: Language Design for Distributed Stream Processing
  4. Arvind Thiagarajan (co-supervised with Hari Balakrishnan) -- Thesis: Probabilistic Models for Mobile Phone Trajectory Estimation
  5. Evan Jones -- Thesis: Fault-Tolerant Distributed Transactions for Partitioned OLTP Databases
  6. Eugene Wu (Columbia) -- Thesis: Implementation and Applications of High Performance Provenance Systems for Data Analysis
  7. Yuan Mei (Facebook) -- Thesis: The Sprawl Stream Distribution System
  8. Alvin Cheung (UC Berkeley) -- Thesis: Rethinking the Application-Database Interface
  9. Manasi Vartak (Verta, Inc)
  10. Yi Lu (Google)
  11. Anil Shanbhag (Instabase, Inc)
  12. Favyen Bastani (AllenAI)
  13. Joana Matos Fonseca de Trindade
  14. Oscar Moll
  15. Albert Kim: Thesis "Optimizing Queries with Disjunctions"

Postdoc Alumni:
Graduated M.Eng. students (Partial List, not updated after ~2010):

Publications and Talks

Awards and Honors

  • C. V. Ramamoorthy Distinguished Research Award, UC Berkeley, 2003
  • VLDB 2004 Best Paper Award
  • NSF CAREER Award (Project Page), 2005
  • MIT TR35 Outstanding Researcher Under the Age of 35, 2005
  • MobiCom Best Paper Award, 2006
  • SenSys Best Demo Award, 2006
  • Sloan Fellowship, 2007
  • IBM Facutly Development Award, 2007
  • VLDB Best Paper Award, 2007
  • Sensys Best Paper Award, 2009
  • VLDB Best Demo Award, 2011
  • CIDR Best Paper Award, 2013
  • SIGMOD Test of Time Award ("Acqusitional Query Processing, SIGMOD 2003"), 2013
  • VLDB Test of Time Award ("C-Store, VLDB 2005"), 2015
  • SIGMOD Contributions Award, 2016
  • SIGMOD Test of Time Award ("Fault-tolerance in the Borealis distributed stream processing system, SIGMOD 2005"), 2017
  • MIT Burgess (1952) & Elizabeth Jamieson Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2018
  • SIGMOBILE Test of Time Award, ("CarTel: A Distributed Mobile Sensor Computing System"), 2018
  • ACM Sensys Test of Time Award, ("VTrack: Accurate, Energy-aware Road Traffic Delay Estimation Using Mobile Phones"), 2019
  • ACM Fellow, 2020

Company Involvement

  • I am the Chief Scientist of Cambridge Mobile Telematics, a Cambridge, MA-based startup that develops solutions to make roads safter by making drivers better.
  • I am a technical advisor to Map-D, a GPU-based database analytics and visualization startup.
  • I am a technical advisor to Instabase, a platform to help people solve problems with data.
  • I am a technical advisor to B12, a startup focused on orchestrating creative workers to help build technology products.
  • I was a co-founder of Vertica, a column-oriented database system. Vertica was acquired by HP in 2011.

Miscellaneous Technical Articles and Software

Community Activities

  • SIGMOD 2004 Demo Committee
  • OSDI 2004 Program Committee
  • Organizer of the 2004 DMSN Workshop on Data Management in Wireless Sensor Networks held with VLDB 2004.
  • CIDR 2005 Program Committee
  • ICDE 2005 Program Committee
  • SIGMOD 2005 Program Committee
  • VLDB 2005 Program Committee
  • Organizer of the 2005 DMSN Workshop on Data Management in Wireless Sensor Networks held with VLDB 2005.
  • IPSN 2006 Program Committee
  • SIGMOD 2006 Demo Committee
  • KDD 2006 Program Committee
  • SenSys 2006 Program Committee
  • SenSys 2006 Publications Chair
  • SIGMOD 2007 Program Committee
  • CIDR 2007 Program Committee
  • DCOSS 2007 Systems Subcommitte Program Chair
  • VLDB 2007 Program Committee
  • VLDB 2008 Industrial Track Program Committee
  • SIGMOD 2008 Program Committee
  • IPSN 2008 PC Co-Chair
  • ICDE 2009 Program Committee
  • PVLDB 2010 Program Committee
  • PVLDB 2011 Program Commitee
  • SIGMOD 2011 Program Committee
  • Editorial Board Member, Internet Computing (2006--2014)
  • Editorial Board Member, Transactions on Sensor Networks (2005--2010)
  • SIGMOD 2016 Program Chair
  • Co-organizer North East Database Day (NEDBDay) 2023