Greetings

Hi folks.  I'm a researcher in Sun Labs working on The AURA Project.  I am responsible for designing and developing the distributed Data Store.  We're interested both in studying existing data stores, and playing with creating our own.  Making our own has a couple advantages.  First, it can be customized to do things the way we want.  Second, it gives us a good perspective from which to understand and evaluate other distributed data stores.  We have different needs than most distributed key/value stores though.  We don't just want to store values and retrieve them by key.  We're interested in doing some computation on the data that will help us to generate recommendations on the fly.  That computation is best done close to the data, so we have a special-purpose data store that can handle these types of queries and give back results quickly enough that we can build a live service on them.  We do them on the fly so that you can give feedback to the recommender and have it immediately take your preferences into account.

The data store isn't exactly mature, but it is functional and stable.  I'll post to this blog as I have thoughts or interesting (in my opinion) problems regarding the data store.  I may also post observations about our data store and how it compares to others which may not be at all interesting to you but may help me as I build a mental picture of what the realm of existing data stores looks like.

You can get the source code to our project on Kenai, and you can try out our music recommender system built on our data store.

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Jeff Alexander is a member of the Information Retrieval and Machine Learning group in Oracle Labs.

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