Category Archives: talks

Critical Race Theory in HCI

Last week, I attended one of the meetups of the Chicago local ACM Chapter. ACM has several SIGs – Special Interest Groups, and technically speaking, I am a part of only one of them: SIGMOD (Management of Data) and also a member of ACM-W – Women in Computing. 

“Before all this started” (everybody these days have to say this, referring to our previous life), so – before it all started, I attended some of the ACM meetups, but not that often. 

The Chicago local chapter of ACM SIGCHI – Computer-Human Interaction – is something outside my area of interest, but I started to attend their virtual events and became more and more interested, and now I want to share it with my network :). 

The topic of the last week’s meetup was  “Critical Race Theory For HCI”, and I regret I didn’t publicize this event! It was so-so-so worth attending!

I am going to cite one example which started this presentation, and you will see what I am talking about. 

Here is the situation. A child is doing a project about a family vacation. If you would google images for “family vacation,” you will see the images of white families on exotic beaches. And it will take you, they said, six pages scrolling to get to the first picture of a non-white family. And if you refine your search with specifying “black family,” you will get pictures with a very different type of vacation. And you might need to refine your search even more. 

This picture is bad enough, especially because when you hear that, you realize right away that it’s true! And you just never thought about it. Well, maybe you did, but I didn’t!  

Afterward, there was a conversation about what can be done to change things and how we can all make it better in technical aspects and personnel management. And I think that was the most important take-away: do not let yourself off guard. Keep questioning yourself. 

And, if this all sounded interesting – consider joining this meetup!

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Advertising Another JSON/Postgres Presentation.

For several years, I was referring to the work with did at Braviant Holdings, as “our JSON thing.” But then it got a name, and now we call it NORM. So, why “JSON/Postgres” again?

Well, because I am advertising this online presentation:

Working with JSON Data in PostgreSQL vs. MongoDB

This talk was scheduled to be presented in New York in March, and it was in my shortlist of “must attend.” I was also planning to have this speaker at my panel. The conference did not happen for obvious reasons. Still, I was excited to find out that this talk will be presented virtually. It is going to be awesome (I know the speaker:)), and I am looking forward to finally hear it!

Please consider virtually attending! Hope to “see” you there!

P.S. Yes, it’s the same date as Chicago PUG meetup, but different time!

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“The Pioneers of Computing” Talk

Last week, I attended several online events, way more than I usually do. One of them was sponsored by the WIE (Women In Engineering) Group of IEEE Chicago section. I am an IEEE member, and I used to be more active in the group than I am now. As with many other things, I hope that I will be able to participate more in the future.

The talk, which was presented on Thursday, was called “The Pioneers of Computing and The Imposter Syndrome,” and it was about women pioneering programming and computer science. Everybody knows about Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper, and several other female figures in the world of programming. But I didn’t know that at the dawn of programming as a profession, it was considered a “girls job.”The talk was presented by Anne Lee, Nokia Bell Labs Technology Strategy and Architecture CTO Partner. She made it clear that the narrative “women aren’t biologically inclined or skilled to do tech work” has no foundation whatsoever.

It was surprising to see the clips from newspapers and magazines from the late 50s and 60s, which mentioned “computer girls.” Remember that that was way before the age of personal computers. Still, programming was considered “the office job.” Only later, when programming started to emerge as a high-skilled trade, which was paid really well, men entered the profession and created the myth of “women can’t program.”

I am sure that each person working in tech has met some outstanding female programmers, and I want to reiterate that that is a norm rather than an exception!

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PG Conf NYC 2020 reminder!

For those who are considering attending PG Conf NYC 2020: the last Day of the EarlyBird discount is January 31! The program (or at least most of it:)) is up, so you can decided which day(s) you want to attend in can’t make it for the whole week. There will be tons of interesting talks, I am already upset I won’t be able to be it three different rooms at the same time 🙂

For those who is interested in my presentations, here is the most complete information so far:

  • Boris and I will be doing the same Ultimate Optimization Training as we presented in Chicago in December. The even was sold out than, but it is not sold out yet in NYC :). Our training will be on the last day of the conference, Friday March 27
  • I will be presenting the talk about building local communities (specifically, how to build a Postgers User Group) on the second day of the conference
  • I won’t be presenting neither bitemporal library, nor NORM, but I was invited to talk at another event during the same week, where I will present the NORM talk (extended from my Cyprus presentation). I will publish all the details as soon as it will be finalized

Once again – there will be an amazing number of interesting presentations, and many experienced people to talk to (I already have a list of twenty:)), so please consider attending!

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More on our Presentation at SOFSEM 2020: NORM Goest Live!

My friends and colleagues who follow me for a while are well aware of the fact that my papers about ORIM/ORM were rejected at several conferences. Also, it’s a known fact that this kind of submissions is not welcomed at the conferences in general. My recent work, which was implemented at Braviant Holding with what I would call a smashing success, was only presented at the Postgres conferences. Our three attempts to submit it to any CS/Academic conferences failed. At some point, it became a matter of principle.


We submitted the new version to SOFSEM 2020 in the hope that at DB/SE conference, the topic could feel more appealing. The submissions formate required us to reduce the size of the paper almost twice, but we were still hopeful we would be able to convey a message.
That ended up being only a partial success. The paper was accepted, however, only as a short paper. Reading the reviews, we realized that none of the reviewers understood what it was about (in fact, we got much better reviews fro VLDB, were we got weak accept, which ended up being not enough). To make the paper even shorter, we had to remove all the actual work from the body:), leaving there only the motivation and the conclusion. But as I said, it was the matter of principle.

Then we spend quite a bit of time reworking the presentation. First, Boris wanted it to look more academic, that my older Postgres presentations. But then we started to change it back to more and more visual since we realized that the topic, the motivation, and the reality are pretty much unknown to our audience. Besides, my Postgres presentations were 40-50 minutes long, and here we had only 30 minutes, including questions. I tried very hard to get it to 23-25 minutes.

The last blow came two days before the conference when we were told that the presentations for short papers should be 18 minutes long, including questions, which meant I had only 15 minutes to present. That did not sound feasible, and we were desperate. Boris tried to negotiate our twelve minutes back with the organizers:).

But then a sort of miracle happened. Right before our session began, it turned out that the first person didn’t show up, and I claimed all the time I could. Unfortunately, I already cut several slides out of my presentation (I put them pack in the pdf, which I previously published here). After all, I was able to bring my point across, and I think that everybody present there, enjoyed the presentation. How I wish I won’t be presenting on the first day because then I `would convince more people to come. But in any case, I hope that now we will be able to publish a full version of the paper somewhere.

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Our Presentation at SOFSEM 2020

A preface: as it usually happens with my favorite topic, neither database conferences, nor software engineering conference acknowledge that kind of research. Thereby, when although the paper got accepted, it was accepted as a short paper (because nobody understood what it was about :)).

Moreover, two days before the conference we were asked to shorten the presentation to 15 minutes. Fortunately for me, there was one no-show at our session, so I was able to present in full. Below is a full presentation version including two slides which were not in today’s presentation.

NORM – SOFSEM2020

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Chicago PUG January Meetup – Great Start for 2020

It has been for three years now, that Bravinat is hosting Chicago PUG meetups. Today we’ve rung in 2020 with two excellent presentations and very productive follow-up discussions.


I want to thank one more time all the user group members who joined us today.

Looking forward to another great year ahead!

Engaged audience
Our speakers

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Next Ultimate Optimization Training is Coming Up in March

For those who didn’t get a chance to get to our Ultimate Optimization Training in December: we are doing it again at PG Conf New York March 23-27. This is definitely not the only reason to attend the conference, but somewhat an extra bonus :). Please go to the conference page for the details: PG Conf 2020

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Last Night at Chicago PUG

Chicago PUG November meetup, which took place on November 12, was a highlight of my career as a Chicago PUG co-organizer. We had both Magnus Hagander and Devrim Gündüz speaking at one event! The attendance was great, and I am very thankful for both Magnus and Devrim for agreeing to speak, as well as for Sri, who talked them into it :).

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Finally – Accepted Paper!

Last week I had the first acceptance of my paper to the real Computer Science conference for a very long time (since 2015!). Many things make this acceptance very meaningful for me. 

First, as I said, it’s the first one after four and a half years. 

Second, this is my first acceptance for the scientific conference since I joined Braviant Holdings. When I spoke at ICDE 2016, I was already with Braviant Holding, but the work was done, and the paper was submitted during my Enova tenure.

Third, the topic of the paper is ORIM, which is very difficult to sell to both the academic community and industry alike, and we already had two rejections of the earlier version of this paper.

And the last – this is the paper Boris and I submitted together since I can’t remember how long (I want to say – since 1995 :)). OK, the first accepted paper together:)

We will be presenting at the SOFSEM 2020 conference in January. So yes, this is also my birthday present 🙂

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