Microsoft Research honors UCSD’s Bourne


Light Staff

UCSD professor Phil Bourne said last week he was “surprised and humbled” when he received word that he had won the Jim Gray eScience award from Microsoft Research.

According to a blog posting on the honor it is given “to a researcher who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of data-intensive computing” and ”whose work truly makes science easier for scientists.”

Gray was a technical fellow for Microsoft Research and a Turing Award winner who disappeared at sea in 2007, wrote the blog’s author Tony Hey, corporate vice president of external research at Microsoft. “Jim Gray postulated that data exploration, or, as he termed it, eScience, is the evolutionary next step in scientific exploration, following the original, empirical phase and the subsequent theoretical and computational phases.”

In an e-mail to the Light Bourne wrote, “I did not know Jim Gray, but was aware of his work and the vision of the Fourth Paradigm https://r


“When reading it again recently I realized all that I am doing in the area of data intensive computing was originally perceived by Jim before he disappeared,” he added. “That is enough to make me humble.”

Bourne is a professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and is associate director of the RCSB Protein Data Bank, an Adjunct professor at the Sanford-Burnham Institute, and a past president of the International Society for Computational Biology. He is also a co-founder of Sci-Vee, a science video-sharing website based at UCSD.

In his posting about the award, Hey noted that Bourne is “committed to the free dissemination of scientific knowledge through new open access models linking textual publications to data in order to preserve the scientific record. It is this work-on education, open access and open science that so perfectly aligns with Jim Gray’s vision.”