ACM SIGMOD 2009 is being held in Providence, Rhode Island from June 29 through July 2. The conference program is online and this year’s sessions look particularly interesting. Alas I will not, unfortunately, be able to attend.
However, Anil Goel and Ani Nica of my staff will be at SIGMOD. In particular, Ani will be demonstrating a new query optimization toolkit  that she recently developed with David Hillis and Daniel Brotherston of the University of Waterloo. The toolkit addresses the problem of visualizing the search space analyzed by a query optimizer, and permits one to drill-down into details of why the optimizer considered potential plans from this portion of the overall search space, yet ignored others. The intent behind the tool is to analyze and improve query optimization quality, but we are considering other potential uses of this technology as well. If you’re at SIGMOD at the end of the month, take a look.
 Anisoara Nica, Daniel Scott Brotherston and David William Hillis (June 2009). Extreme Visualisation of Query Optimizer Search Space. Proceedings of the 2009 ACM SIGMOD Conference, Providence, Rhode Island. To appear.