Database Research Group

WSI – Database Systems Research Group

The MonetDB Column Store Database System (Hauptseminar)

The kick-off meeting will take place on 15.10.2014, 15:00 in room B305.1 ("Datenbankpraktikum"). To participate in the seminar, please register via E-Mail. Please note that the maximum number of participants is limited.

In the last decade, trends both in hardware development and database workloads have challenged traditional wisdom about relational database systems architecture. While traditionally relational data is stored row-by-row, a new breed of systems have explored the benefits obtainable by storing data in a column-wise fashion. This paradigm enables a multitude of techniques that allow to fully exploit modern hardware. Ideas developed under this paradigm have proven highly influential: In the very recent past, all major commercial database system vendors have started to adopt column-store techniques in their products.

In this seminar, we will focus on a column-store system developed in the academic world that has been especially influential: MonetDB. Using MonetDB as a research platform, important innovations have been developed that affect all aspects of a query engine. We will explore ideas and techniques that have been developed in MonetDB but are relevant in general.

To get an impression of the topics this seminar will cover, have a look at this overview article which we will also use as a foundational piece of literature for all student talks in this seminar: Abadi et al.: The Design and Implementation of Modern Column-Oriented Database Systems

For all questions regarding this seminar, please contact Alex Ulrich.

Target Audience

This seminar is aimed at MSc students ("Hauptseminar"). Participants in this seminar should have passed the course "Datenbanksysteme 2" or have equivalent knowledge. In addition, for some of the topics, basic knowledge of computer architecture (modern CPUs, memory hierarchy, etc.) will be helpful. If you are unsure whether this seminar is a good fit for you, do not hesitate to ask.


We will have a kick-off meeting at the start of the semester, followed by 4-5 sessions of 90 minutes each of which will feature two presentations by students. Attendance to all sessions is mandatory. We will determine a date and time that works for all participants at the first meeting.


Your task will be to explore your selected topic based on the research literature and explain it in sufficient detail to your fellow students. You will present your results both in a write-up as well as in an oral presentation followed by a discussion.

Tips on Giving Presentations

  1. Simon Peyton-Jones (Microsoft Research, Cambridge): How to give a good research talk
  2. Andreas Zeller (U Saarland): Der perfekte Seminarvortrag

Additional material (code, data)