Pat Selinger

The best way to hire great women is to have great women at the top of the company. IBM is a lot stronger for employing Pat Selinger for 29 years . She invented the relational database cost-based optimizer, a technology that sees continued use in relational database management systems today. But more than being a great technologist, Pat is a great leader, and many of the people who worked for and with Pat were no less amazing. The Almaden database research team was amongst the most talented database technology groups the world has seen.

I was lucky enough to work with Pat and the Almaden team for the years I spent as lead architect on DB2. They taught me much of what I know today about databases, helped feed my curiosity in just about all areas of computer science, and taught me a lot about getting things done when working with people I don’t directly lead. Pat contributed greatly to how I think about problems, taught me a huge amount over the years, remains a great sparring partner when working through new ideas, and introduced me to many people with her same curiosity and high technical standards.

IBM just posted an article on Pat and her contribution to database research, IBM technology, and the careers of literally hundreds of IBM engineers:

4 comments on “Pat Selinger
  1. Mark Gandy says:

    RE: taught me a lot about getting things done when working with people I don’t directly lead

    Awesome and well done to the both of you for your commitment and contributions. Other than this mentoring you’ve received from Pat, is there a book or two you’d recommend on these tactics? Thank you!

  2. Pat Selinger says:

    James, I’m honored by your kind words and re-posting of the IBM article. IBM wrote the article to recognize and encourage Women in STEM, and a key aspect of that is mentoring, which you and I have done for one another and for many others through the years. It’s a great way to encourage growth in new team members and to build a broad network of contacts and smart people who become your “go to” people throughout life for both the mentor and the mentee. I’ve been lucky to have you in that capacity in my life for decades. Thanks!

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