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TU Berlin

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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Volker Markl


Volker Markl is a German computer scientist, database systems researcher, and a full professor. He leads the Chair of Database Systems and Information Management and is Director of the Berlin Institute for the Foundations of Learning and Data at the Technische Universität Berlin. He is also Chief Scientist and Head of the Intelligent Analytics for Massive Data Research Group at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence in Berlin. He is currently President of the VLDB Endowment, and serves on the academic advisory council to the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society as well as the scientific advisory board to Software AG. Additionally, he co-chairs the Technological Enablers and Data Science Interdisciplinary Working Group of the ‘Plattform Lernende Systeme,‘ a platform of leading experts who are developing a roadmap for the responsible use of self-learning systems and AI, sponsored by BMBF, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. He is a strong proponent of data literacy,  systems-oriented research, and computer science education.

Volker’s research interests lie at the intersection of distributed systems, scalable data processing, and machine learning. He has published over 200 research papers at world-class scientific venues, and served as an editor for ten academic journals. He has given over 240 presentations in numerous industrial settings, research institutions, and major conferences worldwide, including keynotes at premier scientific venues, such as VLDB, ICDE, and DEBS. In 1999, he earned his PhD in Computer Science under the direction of Prof. Rudolf Bayer at the Technische Universität München.

Over the years, Volker has received numerous honors and awards. Most recently, he was elected a 2020 ACM Fellow for his contributions to query optimization, scalable data processing, and data programmability. In 2014, he was elected one of Germany's leading “Digital Minds“ (Digitale Köpfe) by the German Informatics Society. Additionally, his achievements have been recognized by the European Union and industry. In particular, he received a European Information Society and Technologies (IST) Prize, an IBM Outstanding Technological Achievement Award, several Hewlett Packard Open Innovation Awards, an IBM Pat Goldberg Memorial Best Paper Award, and an IBM Faculty Award. Moreover, his research has received numerous recognitions, including a VLDB Best Paper Award, an ACM SIGMOD Research Highlight Award, an EDBT Best Paper Award, an ACM SIGMOD Best Paper Award, and two EDBT Best Demonstration Awards.

Volker has a well-established track record of innovation and technology transfer. His inventions have resulted in the awarding of eighteen patents. His doctoral research led to the development of the UB-Tree multidimensional indexing technology, which was transferred to Transaction Software, a German SME company, and garnered him a European IST Prize. For creating information marketplaces, he earned the Trusted Cloud Award from BMWi, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Furthermore, many of his technological ideas were transferred into IBM commercial products, during the period he was industrial researcher at the IBM Almaden Research Center. Moreover, for supporting entrepreneurially-minded students and helping them to acquire seed funding, he was awarded an Innovation Supporter Award by TU Berlin.

From 2010 through 2019, Volker led the DFG funded Stratosphere project, which led to the establishment of Apache Flink, an open-source big data analytics system, and earned him a Humboldt Innovation Award. With a community of over 26,000 members and over 700 code contributors, Flink is recognized as a highly flexible, scalable, and extensible processing framework for data streams that incorporates novel methods for fault tolerance. He has been co-founder, advisor, and mentor to several startups, including dataArtisans, Parstream, and Aklamio. In addition, he advises and collaborates with several IT companies, including IBM, SAP, Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom, HP, Oracle, Amazon, Huawei, Zalando, as well as many SMEs. Furthermore, he serves as an advisor to the German Federal Government and the European Union on Big Data and AI.

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