Jim Gray, one of Microsoft’s smartest, is missing

Wow, Jim Gray, Slashdot reports, is missing.

He’s one of Microsoft’s smartest researchers. I did a video interview with of Jim back when I worked at Microsoft.

He helped build the internals of SQL Server, one of Microsoft’s most profitable products. Among other things. In the database world Jim is regarded as a God.

46 thoughts on “Jim Gray, one of Microsoft’s smartest, is missing

  1. You can get a good sense of the “community” over at Slashdot by looking at the number of people who come up with lame jokes regarding someone’s misfortune.

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  2. You can get a good sense of the “community” over at Slashdot by looking at the number of people who come up with lame jokes regarding someone’s misfortune.

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  3. The promising news is the boat is missing too. If they find the boat without him on it, it’s over.

    I’ve sailed solo around the farallons a dozen times (I’ve also sailed solo across the pacific 3 times). The gulf of the farallons is not to be taken lightly. Some of the toughest sailing in a transpacific trip is the first 200 miles off the california coast.

    Did he have an EPIRB? Did it go off?

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  4. The promising news is the boat is missing too. If they find the boat without him on it, it’s over.

    I’ve sailed solo around the farallons a dozen times (I’ve also sailed solo across the pacific 3 times). The gulf of the farallons is not to be taken lightly. Some of the toughest sailing in a transpacific trip is the first 200 miles off the california coast.

    Did he have an EPIRB? Did it go off?

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  5. 😦

    I hope they find him soon. A coupe of months ago, one of his presentations inspired me to write a blog post, and he very graciously gave me permission to use some of his figures.

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  6. 😦

    I hope they find him soon. A coupe of months ago, one of his presentations inspired me to write a blog post, and he very graciously gave me permission to use some of his figures.

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  7. Deepak: I hope so too. I’m not even sure how to process this because this isn’t some “guy on the news.” It hits home a lot closer than other stories I’ve covered. I hope they find him alive. I can’t imagine what his family is going through.

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  8. Deepak: I hope so too. I’m not even sure how to process this because this isn’t some “guy on the news.” It hits home a lot closer than other stories I’ve covered. I hope they find him alive. I can’t imagine what his family is going through.

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  9. While I don’t know Jim personally, I know of him quite well. While doing my doctoral work, I took a graduate course in Database at the University of Maryland. The professor was Mike Franklin who is now at Berkeley. He gave me an appreciation of the depth and breadth of work that Jim did to bring the database field to where it is. You know the old saying about how the most beautiful technology is simple. I would recommend that you lookup the 5-minute rule. Its about as simple as it comes but lives in database circles like Moore’s law does in CPUs. His work transcends Microsoft. Microsoft was lucky and smart to get him.

    After I graduated, I happened to be living in a house in Baltimore that was next to another professor from Johns Hopkins this one in Astrophysics. He and Jim were collaborating on miniature devices that could be sprinkled around with wireless networks to be used for observing physical behaviors in the world. Jim was involved in the data gathering part of that.

    I think it would be hard to point to someone in Computer Science that has made a larger impact as an individual. If he has been lost, and I hope he has not, it would be a significant loss for us all.

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  10. While I don’t know Jim personally, I know of him quite well. While doing my doctoral work, I took a graduate course in Database at the University of Maryland. The professor was Mike Franklin who is now at Berkeley. He gave me an appreciation of the depth and breadth of work that Jim did to bring the database field to where it is. You know the old saying about how the most beautiful technology is simple. I would recommend that you lookup the 5-minute rule. Its about as simple as it comes but lives in database circles like Moore’s law does in CPUs. His work transcends Microsoft. Microsoft was lucky and smart to get him.

    After I graduated, I happened to be living in a house in Baltimore that was next to another professor from Johns Hopkins this one in Astrophysics. He and Jim were collaborating on miniature devices that could be sprinkled around with wireless networks to be used for observing physical behaviors in the world. Jim was involved in the data gathering part of that.

    I think it would be hard to point to someone in Computer Science that has made a larger impact as an individual. If he has been lost, and I hope he has not, it would be a significant loss for us all.

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  11. It’s a sad day to read that one of the greats is missing. I hope that he and his boat are found soon. As for me, I’m too green a sailor to take off alone to go anywhere. The winter seas off the California coast are less predictable. I hope he’s OK.

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  12. It’s a sad day to read that one of the greats is missing. I hope that he and his boat are found soon. As for me, I’m too green a sailor to take off alone to go anywhere. The winter seas off the California coast are less predictable. I hope he’s OK.

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  13. I have known Jim Gray for almost 20 years. We worked together in the database group at Digital Equipment Corp, and now we both work at Microsoft. He is a good friend, and one of the three smartest people I have ever worked with. The other two are Ray Ozzie and Paul Butterworth.

    Jim is a legendary computer scientist, especially in the database world. As brilliant as he is, he is charming, friendly, and has no ego. An amazing guy.

    I hope they find Jim and the boat soon.

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  14. I have known Jim Gray for almost 20 years. We worked together in the database group at Digital Equipment Corp, and now we both work at Microsoft. He is a good friend, and one of the three smartest people I have ever worked with. The other two are Ray Ozzie and Paul Butterworth.

    Jim is a legendary computer scientist, especially in the database world. As brilliant as he is, he is charming, friendly, and has no ego. An amazing guy.

    I hope they find Jim and the boat soon.

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  15. “SQL Server, one of Microsoft’s most profitable products”

    and one of the most awful. Seriously, was this a profitable product? I thought only Office and Windows turned a profit? Or is this because of the insanely high license price for such a shoddy product? Do you have figures somewhere?

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  16. “SQL Server, one of Microsoft’s most profitable products”

    and one of the most awful. Seriously, was this a profitable product? I thought only Office and Windows turned a profit? Or is this because of the insanely high license price for such a shoddy product? Do you have figures somewhere?

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  17. It is sad for tech community. Just when we thought we are coming out of James Kim’s sad ending, we are faced with another terrible possibility. I just hope that it is different this time and they find him alive.

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  18. It is sad for tech community. Just when we thought we are coming out of James Kim’s sad ending, we are faced with another terrible possibility. I just hope that it is different this time and they find him alive.

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  19. Hope they find Jim soon. I know Jim. Shared an office with him at IBM when I worked on DB2. He took me sailing on the SF bay a few times and I helped clean off the barnacles off his boat. He is a fine sailor. Has been sailing for more than 30 years. He is super smart and a great guy.

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  20. Hope they find Jim soon. I know Jim. Shared an office with him at IBM when I worked on DB2. He took me sailing on the SF bay a few times and I helped clean off the barnacles off his boat. He is a fine sailor. Has been sailing for more than 30 years. He is super smart and a great guy.

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  21. My dad spend 66 days in a life raft in 1989 after his 40 ft. yacht sank in the Pacific. He and his wife were sleeping and the boat was slammed by a couple of pilot whales in the middle of the night. Whoever is doing the search should consider that Mr. Gray might be in a liferaft and may have lost his EPIRB and other signalling equipment.

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  22. My dad spend 66 days in a life raft in 1989 after his 40 ft. yacht sank in the Pacific. He and his wife were sleeping and the boat was slammed by a couple of pilot whales in the middle of the night. Whoever is doing the search should consider that Mr. Gray might be in a liferaft and may have lost his EPIRB and other signalling equipment.

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  23. Does anyone know where Jim kept his boat Tenacious? What yacht club/marina? I was searching on the Turk site and I wanted to see where he left from.

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  24. Does anyone know where Jim kept his boat Tenacious? What yacht club/marina? I was searching on the Turk site and I wanted to see where he left from.

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  25. The search for Mr. Jim Gray assumes sea only?
    I mean: Is there confirmation that his boat is not anchored in the bay?

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  26. The search for Mr. Jim Gray assumes sea only?
    I mean: Is there confirmation that his boat is not anchored in the bay?

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  27. I am very saddened by Jim’s disappearance and pray they find him alive and well. My encounters with Jim at Microsoft were great. He was so smart he made even obscure and complex issues seem easy and obvious, and he was one of the three nicest people I ever met at Microsoft.

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  28. I am very saddened by Jim’s disappearance and pray they find him alive and well. My encounters with Jim at Microsoft were great. He was so smart he made even obscure and complex issues seem easy and obvious, and he was one of the three nicest people I ever met at Microsoft.

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  29. Dear Robert,

    It’s a coming of 1-year incident. Hope you write the update information about him soon.

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