Joe Hellerstein, 31
University of California, Berkeley
Those who devise efficient ways to cut through "data smog" will be much in demand in the future. Among that group, one name to keep in mind is Joe Hellerstein of the University of California, Berkeley. Hellerstein’s work lies in finding the best way to put information into databases and then get out what you want--and nothing else. Some of his database related contributions include CONTROL (Continuous Output and Navigation Technology with Refinement On-Line), an approach that exploits continuous user feedback to refine the action of a search engine, and GiST (Generalized Search Tree), a way of finding answers to questions without having to worry about the type of data in the answer. Jim Gray, manager of Microsoft’s Bay Area Research Center, calls Hellerstein "the most promising of his generation of database systems scientists."
Although working at a research university, Hellerstein is also pursuing commercial applications. He has designed Cohera DFS, a system intended to manage the computing resources of a large enterprise. Hellerstein is also on the technical advisory board of MySimon, a Web-based shopping service that provides inventory and price information from a large array of Web sites. Work like Hellerstein’s offers hope that today’s data smog will dissipate in tomorrow’s information daylight.