28 Jan Microsoft's Madison computer lab looks to fill open database research jobs
Madison, Wis. – The retired University of Wisconsin-Madison computer science professor who runs Microsoft Corp.’s advanced computer lab in Madison says the recent layoffs announced by the software giant will not negatively impact the local facility.
David DeWitt informed WTN that he does not expect any reduction in the workforce at his office, which is the Microsoft Jim Gray Systems Lab on Main Street. In fact, he still has open positions that he is trying to fill at the lab, which was opened last year to take advantage of the database expertise in UW-Madison’s Computer Science Department.
“There is no overall change in the mission of the lab or the relationship with the university,” DeWitt wrote in an e-mail.
Last week, Microsoft said it would cut 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months, the first substantial workforce reduction in its 33-year history. Prior to this recession, the global software developer typically made limited staff cuts after acquiring other companies.
About 1,400 jobs were eliminated on Jan. 22, the day of the announcement. Microsoft spokesman Nicholas Sesnak said the majority of the layoffs took place in Redmond, Wash. due to the high concentration of employees based at Microsoft headquarters. However, since the job cuts were a company-wide action, some positions in various cities also were eliminated.
However, the Jim Gray Systems Lab, which organizationally is part of the Microsoft SQL Server Division, has several positions open at the Ph.D. or M.S. levels for people with significant experience in the design and implementation of database management systems. According to DeWitt, the lab has at least two open full-time positions that will be filled this spring.
A position description posted on dbworld notes that the Jim Gray Systems Lab staff collaborates closely with the faculty and graduate students of the database group at UW-Madison. It said the lab has several on-going projects in areas such as parallel database systems, advanced storage technologies for database systems, energy-aware database systems, and the design and implementation of database systems for multicore CPUs.
DeWitt indicated that he already has “tons” of applicants for the open positions. “The trick,” he noted, “is finding people with the right degrees who fit with our mission.”
The lab now employs 4.5 full-time employees, and all except the business manager are PhDs. In addition, it has seven graduate students and three UW-Madison faculty members that are involved in various ways.
Named in honor
The lab is named for Jim Gray, a former Microsoft programmer who has not been seen since a January 2007 yachting trip. DeWitt, who first pitched the idea for the lab to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in late 2007, was instrumental in developing database systems used in the private sector.