PhD Dissertation Acknowledgement

There are many people that have earned my gratitude for their contribution to my time in graduate school. More specifically, I would like to thank five groups of people, without whom this thesis would not have been possible: my thesis committee members, my lab mates, my industrial collaborators, funding agencies, and my family.

My Advisor

First, I am indebted to my thesis advisor, Mohamed F. Mokbel. Since my first day in graduate school, Mohamed believed in me like nobody else and gave me endless support. It all started in Fall 2009 when he offered me such a great opportunity to join the data management lab. On the academic level, Mohamed taught me fundamentals of conducting scientific research in the database systems area. Under his supervision, I learned how to define a research problem, find a solution to it, and finally publish the results. On a personal level, Mohamed inspired me by his hardworking and passionate attitude. To summarize, I would give Mohamed most of the credit for becoming the kind of scientist I am today.

Thesis Committee Memebers

Besides my advisor, I would like to thank the rest of my dissertation committee members (Gedas Adocmivicius, Shashi Shekhar, and Eric Van Wyk) for their great support and invaluable advice. I am thankful to Prof. Adomavicius, an expert in context-aware recommender systems, for his crucial remarks that shaped my final dissertation. I am also grateful to Prof. Shekhar for his insightful comments and for sharing with me his tremendous experience in the spatial data management field. I am quite appreciative of Prof. Eric Van Wyk for agreeing to serve on my dissertation committee on such a short notice as a replacement for John Riedl. I also show gratitude for Prof. John Riedl (former thesis committee member), an excellent teacher and pioneer in the recommender systems area, who unfortunately passed away a few months before the official dissertation defense.

My UMN Data Management Labmates

I would like to thank my lab mates for their continued support. This dissertation would not have been possible without the intellectual contribution of Justin J. Levandoski, a data management lab alumni. Moreover, I am thankful to James Avery and Ahmed Eldawy for their collaboration and contribution in various projects related to this dissertation. I would also like to thank my other lab mates that include Louai Alarabi, Jie Bao, Chi-Yin Chow, Abdeltawab Hendawi, Mohamed Khalefa, Amr Magdy, and Joe Naps for making my experience in the data management lab and graduate school exciting and fun.

Collaborators form Industry

I am also grateful to my industrial collaborators. I spent two summers at Microsoft Research where I had the chance to collaborate with fantastic researchers. More specifically, I would like to thank Sameh Elnikety and Yuxiong He for their continuous support and for providing me the great opportunity to work on large-scale systems. I also extend my gratitude to members of the database, cloud systems, and DMX groups at Microsoft research for the fruitful discussions and for making my internship at Microsoft such an eye-opening experience. I also had one summer internship at NEC laboratories where I have collaborated with wonderful scientists in the Data Management department. I would like to thank Jagan Sankaranarayanan (my mentor at NEC Labs) and Hakan Hacigumus (my manager at NEC Labs) for their great mentorship and guidance.

Funding Agencies

Thanks are also due to the (NSF) National Science Foundation (under Grants IIS-0952977, IIS-1218168, IIS-0811998, IIS-0811935, and CNS-0708604), University of Minnesota Digital Technology Center, and Microsoft Research for their financial support that I otherwise would not have been able to develop my scientific discoveries.

My Family and Friends

Last but not least, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my family and friends. This dissertation would not have been possible without their warm love, continued patience, and endless support.