New tools to manage big data with modern database technology

Professor Jiaheng Lu develops multi-model databases that can help companies and organisations utilise diverse data to make better decisions on consumer behaviour, market trends, and supply chain management.

What are your research topics?

I am a computer scientist with an interest in the research of databases and big data management. For the past 25 years, I have studied computer technology to efficiently and effectively query and manage large amounts of diverse data.

We are in the era of Big Data. Datasets grow in size quickly because of the increasing availability of cheap and numerous information-sensing mobile devices, remote sensing, software logs, cameras and microphones. Most big data environments go beyond relational databases and traditional data warehouse platforms. Our research topic is to develop new methodologies and tools to manage big data with modern database technology.

Where and how does your research topic have an impact?

Our research topics will lead to a new type of database system, called multi-model databases. This new type of database can manage different forms of data and integrate them to provide a unified interface. A multi-model database leverages one single database engine to manage different data models with a fully integrated backend to handle the system demands for performance, scalability and fault tolerance.

Our research has the potential to benefit society and human life in several ways. For example, databases can help businesses and organisations make better decisions by providing insights into consumer behaviour, market trends and supply chain management. Database research can also help healthcare providers manage and analyse patient data more effectively, leading to better diagnoses, treatments and disease prevention.

What is particularly inspiring in your field right now?

I am excited about our current research because it can combine three fields of research together: quantum computing from physics, category theory from mathematics and data management from computer science.

In particular, quantum computing will provide new methodologies and tools for the efficient storage and retrieval of large amounts of data. Category theory provides a rigorous framework for understanding and manipulating the structure of multi-model databases.

Combining these two areas can lead to new approaches to multi-model database design and management.  This is a highly fascinating and specialised research area, and it requires a deep understanding of all three fields. I like to dive deep into this area and enjoy the process.


Jiaheng Lu is the Professor of Computer Science (Data Management) at the Faculty of Science. 

Read about the other newly appointed professors.