Dr. C. Mohan *  Dr. C. Mohan * photo       

contact information

IBM Fellow
Almaden Research Center, San Jose, CA 95120, USA



*The first name puzzle

[Current Work | Biodata | Background | Media Reports | Publications | Events | Committees | Family | Photos | My Name]


Current Work

I am interested in all aspects of transaction, database and workflow management. Even though I have made research contributions to relational database query optimization and execution, most of my research work has concentrated in the areas of locking, logging, recovery, distributed systems, indexing, shared disks architectures, database caching, and workflow management. 

Currently,  I am working on Big Data related topics. 

My resume could be found at http://bit.ly/CMresu Complementary information could be found in my Wikipedia page at http://bit.ly/CMwIkP 


Mohan's most up to date biodata could be found at http://bit.ly/CMbiod More comprehensive information could be found in his  Wikipedia page at http://bit.ly/CMwIkP



After coming into existence on the banks of the river Cauvery in the town of Mayuram (now called Mayiladuthurai) in the state of Tamil Nadu in India, I grew up mostly in Vellore on the banks of the river Palar. After graduating from Krishnaswamy Mudaliar High School (KMHS) in Vellore in 1971, I went to Loyola College in Madras (now called Chennai) to do my Pre-University Course (PUC). In 1972, I entered the portals of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology Madras to do a B.Tech. in chemical engineering. Even before I got into chemical engineering proper in the 3rd year, I had started using an IBM 370/155 as a hobby in my 2nd year at IITM and got interested in computer science (CS). In the absence of an undergraduate program in CS at that time in IITM, I had to wait to finish my B.Tech. before formally pursuing my interest in CS. After finishing my B.Tech. in 1977, I went over to the US and joined the PhD program in CS at The University of Texas at Austin, on the banks of the Colorado river. After finishing my PhD with a dissertation on database management in December 1981, I joined IBM Research in San Jose - the birthplace of the relational model of data, SQL and System R, the hard disk drive and atom manipulation. I was at what was then called the IBM San Jose Research Laboratory and what is now called the IBM Almaden Research Center until May 2006, except during my sabbatical at INRIA in the Paris area (Rocquencourt) during 1998-99. From June 2006 until January 2009, I worked as the IBM India Chief Scientist, based in Bangalore, with responsibilities that relate to serving as the executive technical leader of IBM India within and outside IBM. At the end of that India assignment, I came back to the IBM Almaden Research Center to continue doing research in the database area.

My past projects include R*, a distributed relational database management system, and Starburst, an extensible, object-relational database management system. It was in the context of the Starburst research prototype and the concurrently-developed OS/2 Extended Edition Database Manager that I and others invented the ARIES family of locking, logging and recovery algorithms. The initial ARIES work led to the establishment of the Database Technology Institute (DBTI) which was intended to foster much closer collaboration between IBM researchers and product developers, and ease technology transfer activities. Later, I founded and led a project on workflow management called Exotica. In late 1996, I founded and started leading the Dominotes (Domino with Transactions and Enhanced Scalability) project. The initial goal of Dominotes was to add logging-based recovery to Lotus Notes/Domino. The latter can be very easily characterized as the world's first semi-structured database management system, in addition to having been the first groupware product. Our project's output was made available to customers as part of Domino R5 in March 1999.

In July 1999, I returned from a 1 year sabbatical at the French government's computer science research institute called INRIA at Rocquencourt outside Paris. I was associated with INRIA's Rodin project (later called Caravel).

I was the founder and technical team leader of the DBCache project whose goal was to improve performance in the middle tier of web-based applications by allowing caching of DB2 data from backend DB2s. In addition to applications running on WebSphere Application Server, application logic running on the edge of the network could also benefit from the caching functionality. I have also led the IBM Almaden activities of a multi-site WebSphere Platform Messaging and Enterprise Service Bus project. This work was commercialized as part of WebSphere Application Server (WAS) Release 6.0.

I have also worked on database clustering in the context of DB2 LUW being extended to work in the shared disks environment in the same manner DB2 Z was extended in the early 90s. This has been commercialized as DB2 pureScale.

For many years, I had also been partially responsible for the IBM Research Division's strategies in the application integration middleware arena and for the Division's relationships with some IBM Software Group executives.

From June 2006 to January 2009, as the IBM India Chief Scientist, I was evangelizing IBM's products and technologies in India by interacting with customers, business partners, ISVs, systems integrators, universities, consultants and IBMers. I was also helping nurture technical talent in India. I worked hard to make people inside and outside IBM appreciate the value of and need for long term technical careers (see list of talks and summary of Mohan's India contributions). In April 2006, as part of my IBM India assignment, I was also appointed to serve on the IBM Research Division's Research Management Council (RMC) and the IBM Corporate Technical Leadership Team (TLT). During my India assignment, I was also a member of IBM India's Leadership Team (ILT).

I have also been highly instrumental in the evolution of the architecture and design of numerous IBM products relating to database management, transaction processing, message queuing, groupware and workflow management. Significant additional information on my research and technology transfer activities can be found in my biodata, in a bibliography of my papers and patents and a page devoted to ARIES.

In terms of external and internal recognition, the highlights of my professional career are:

Media Reports

My inaugural keynote at the 1st International Conference on Information Systems and Software Engineering (ICISSE) in Chennai (India) on 28 December 2009 was given prominent coverage with a photograph by Chennai's popular newspaper The Hindu.

My address to the Children's Science Congress held as part of the 95th Indian Science Congress in Visakhapatnam was covered in The Hindu on 7 January 2008.

My remarks at a press conference held in connection with the Headstart and Compute conferences organized by ACM Bangalore Chapter during January 18-20, 2007 were reported in CIOL, SiliconIndia and The Smart Techie.

A panel that I chaired on Experiential Education at the 6th National Conference on Virtual Instrumentation in Engineering Education on October 26, 2007 in Bangalore was reported on in India eNews and Indian Education Observer.

My speech at the IBM Technology Day at IIT Kanpur on September 22, 2007 was covered in India Infoline.

The ACM India task force that I was co-leading was referred to in a news article in LiveMint on September 21, 2007.

In August 2007, I took part in an Economic Times Intelligence Group Round Table on "Business 2.0: Managing a Global Enterprise & Preparing for the Future" in Mumbai. A summary of the deliberations of the round table, with photographs, was published in the Economic Times on September 13, 2007 (the print version).

My participation in the IBM Technology Day at IIT Madras on August 11, 2007 was covered in EFYtimes, IT News Online, Moneycontrol India and One India.

India's Business Standard newspaper published a front page story on August 3, 2007 in which I was featured with a photograph. The story was about Indian Fellows in IBM and other companies. The online version of that story was republished in India Brand Equity Foundation, Rediff India Abroad and VPMThane.org.

A number of print and online publications referred to my comments regarding Service Science, Management and Engineering (SSME) in the context of an IBM and ACM Bangalore Chapter sponsored SSME event in June 2007 and associated partnership agreements with IIM Bangalore, Indian School of Business (ISB), Nirma Institute of Management (NIM), National Institute of Design (NID) and SP Jain Institute of Management (SPJIM). They included Campus Technology, Dance with Shadows, DNA, EFYtimes, India Infoline, India Review, Indian Education Observer, IT News Online, Moneycontrol India, Network Computing, OneIndia, The Hindu Business Line and ZDNet India.

My speech at the 3rd Annual CII India Innovation Summit in Bangalore in June 2007 was covered by CIOL, Information Madness, SiliconIndia and The Hindu Business Line. The Hindu Business Line carried a second story also.

EFYtimes, Financial Express, IT News Online and Moneycontrol India published stories in May 2007 on my participation at the IBM Day in IIT Kharagpur in April 2007.

There was an AP wire story on my participation in the India Innovation Forum meeting organized in Bangalore in May 2007 by the IBM Venture Capital Group. The September 2007 issue of IEEE Spectrum also covered this event in its story on Indian startups luring silicon valley cash (Print Version).

At the time of the CII-IBM Forum on "Expanding the horizons of innovation" in February 2007, The Hindu Business Line interviewed me and published a report. It also appeared in Sify.com.

A number of print and online publications carried the IBM India announcement about my appointment as the IBM India Chief Scientist in December 2006. They included Business Standard, ChannelTimes, CIOL, Construction Update, Dataquest India, DNA, EFYtimes, HRMeet, India IT Hub, IT News Online, Moneycontrol India, OneIndia, Rediff India Abroad, The Hindu, The Hindu Business Line, The Smart Techie, Vijay Times, WebIndia123.com, WeNews and ZDNet India.

In December 2006, I was the keynote speaker at the regional finals of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) at Amrita University in Coimbatore. The Hindu newspaper published an article with a photo of my participation at this event.

In September 2006, Intelligent Times of Taiwan published an interview with me (English translation). The focus was on IBM in India and my role as the IBM India Chief Scientist. Taipei Times covered my press conference at the IBM 2006 Developer Works conference in Taipei in July 2006. My presentation on DB2 V9 and information management strategy was covered by CNET Taiwan (English translation).

China's CSDN reported on my participation (English translation) in the DeveloperWorks Live conference in Peking University in July 2006.

The venture capital community was informed of my India assignment by IBM Venture Capital Group's Claudia Munce in a newsletter in July 2006.

In April 2006, IBM China Development Laboratory (CDL) organized an Open Day in Beijing during which a database panel was held. Reports on the panel discussions were published by CCIDNet (English translation), China Information World (English translation), China Network World (English translation), Kunpeng Network (English translation), SeeITCo (English translation), SINA (English translation) and Soft Software News Network (English translation).

My talk on Visvesvaraya Technological University's (VTU's) EDUSAT telecast to engineering colleges in Karnataka in December 2005 as part of the "CXO Speaks" series was covered by the Deccan Herald. The Hindu also covered the same in February 2006.

In December 2005, an interview with me by Sam Varghese was published in India's CIOL.

In October 2005, an interview with me by Bhaswati Chakravorty was published in India's Dataquest.

In August 2005, an article titled "Management of Database Getting Commoditised" was published in The Hindu Business Line based on an interview with me by V. Rishi Kumar.

As part of the series "Distinguished Database Profiles", an interview of me by Marianne Winslett was published in ACM SIGMOD Record in December 2004.

In May 2004, based on a panel session held as part of an IBM Innovators' Tour of Australia, a report on LinuxWorld.com.au quoted me on mentoring.

Based on a press conference that was held in Beijing as part of an IBM Innovators Tour in March 2004, reports were published by China Training (English translation), CSDN (English translation), Education Research Institute at Tsinghua University (English translation), Sheng Computer School (English translation) and Why 100,000 Computer Learning Network (English translation).

In March 2004, SYS-CON Media's Wireless Business & Technology magazine, carried an article which was partly based on an interview that I did with the author of the article Dana Blankenhorn.

In December 2003, The Hindu daily newspaper of Chennai, India carried a report on the speech I gave at the Distinguished Alumnus Award Ceremony of IIT Madras while accepting my award.

In October 2003, based on an interview done during my India visit, India's The Hindu Business Line featured a story on me (Powering Big Blue) by Tunia Cherian George.

In November 2001, I was featured in an article on IBM's patent leadership with a group photo of 4 IBM Fellows in CRN Magazine.

On 10 December 2000, I was featured as the SiliconIndia Person of the Week on SiliconIndia.com The associated write-up by Art Schram and the photo do a very good job of summarizing my feelings about the role and treatment of hard-core technologists/researchers in the "New Economy". In the January 2001 issue of the SiliconIndia magazine, an interview with me on my career has been published as part of a collection of interviews with a number of people.

On 9 December 1999, India's Economic Times carried a report on me as a result of an IBM Fellows tour I did to Singapore in November 1999.

Papers and Presentation Materials

A bibliography of some of my conference and journal papers is maintained at the University of Trier by Michael Ley. I maintain another bibliography with abstracts and links to online versions of most of my published papers, research reports and patents. It also includes information on what products and prototypes implement the algorithms described in each of my patents and papers. As can be seen from the list of coauthors of my published papers, I have been fortunate to have been able to work with a large number of people over the last 3 decades.

In addition to giving talks at research conferences and trade shows, I enjoy visiting universities and other research centers for giving seminars and meeting researchers. I have lectured extensively in North America, Western Europe and India. I have given talks in 41 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Monaco, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey and USA. In addition, purely as a tourist, I have also visited the following other 11 countries: Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, St. Maarten and St. Martin.

The slides of some of my tutorials or other talks are available. See also this page and this list for abstracts and links to my photos and slides for some of my talks on web services, transaction processing and distributed computing trends, application servers, caching, workflow management trends, Lotus Notes/Domino as a semi-structured DBMS, DB2, recovery and indexing (ARIES, ARIES/IM).

Past/Future Talks/Tutorials/Visits with Links to Photos & Presentations

For the list of talks older than the ones listed here, click here

Program/Advisory Committees (Recent/Current)

I am married to Kalpana Mohan who had been a programmer at IBM for 10 years after obtaining an MS in computer science from San Jose State University. In December 1999, she decided to resign from IBM and devote all her time to her old passion of journalism as a freelance writer. Her articles on technology and sociology have appeared in online and/or print publications like Business Week Online, Bay Area Parent, Better Homes and Gardens, Dance Studio Life, SiliconIndia, Small Times, IEEE Software, India Abroad, India Currents, Sulekha, Hindu's Business Line, Rediff.com, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, KQED and 1099. For a while, she wrote a weekly column, Silicon Valley Jottings, on the Indian IT portal ITspace.com. Now she has a monthly column in India Currents. She also blogs. She is now on a book writing project. We have 2 children: 22 year old daughter Pavithra Mohan who is doing her undergraduate studies at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and 18 year old son Parthiv Mohan who is now at the University of California at Berkeley doing his undergraduate studies in computer science. Outside of school, Pavithra has learnt Bharatha Natyam, Parthiv has learnt Carnatic violin, and both kids have learnt Carnatic vocal music and Western violin. Pavithra has published in India Currents, KQED, Saratoga High School's Falcon and Bay Area Parent. Parthiv has published in BAY Magazine and India Currents.


*The first name puzzle: Those of you who are wondering what my first name is, please don't worry, just call me Mohan. That is what my family calls me and that is the name my parents gave me, even though, given the way I write my name, Mohan appears to be my family name. In my part of India, there is no concept of a family name! We use as an initial the first letter of the father's name or, in the case of a married woman, the husband's name. In my case, I use "C" as an initial since my father's name is Chandrasekaran. For an amusing write-up on this topic, click here and for an article on different naming conventions, click here.

Last updated on 10 August 2012. C. Mohan, cmohan@us.ibm.com