I spent the last two days attending a workshop on XML Databases and it turned out to be the most interesting such event I’ve attended to date. Almost all the talks were by Dr. P. Sreenivasa Kumar who structured the workshop admirably: from the basic elements of XML, XPath, Xquery and XSLT to a sample of a paper he presented at an ACM conference [and some very interesting tidbits on Prufer sequences (As an aside, that Wikipedia article seems needlessly complicated and math-ish)]. I wish I’d got this before my DBMS exam, because I’m now inspired to learn more on the topic: from E-R diagrams and modeling XML data to actually implementing data storage. I suspect I’ll never be interested to the point of actually pursuing this as a research area, and much of my vigor is because it’s couched in a field that was always dear to me – XML i.e. – but database research seems to be an amazingly dynamic area of research for Computer Science, much more so than I earlier realized. It’s also rekindled my interest in XML and XSLT – I’ve started using the inbuilt XSLT/XForms and other XML tools integrated into PHP 5 and after a break of I guess around 2 years or so, resumed playing around with it.
There were also two talks by Arjit Sengupta and Dr. Venkatesh Chopella: they described two various ways of modeling XML data, both diagramatically and syntatically. Very interesting stuff.
What I loved most about the workshop though is the fact that I realized first-hand how research papers are framed, and what research is and I experienced a different kind of learning. And yeah, 1000x inspiring to be around brilliant people. I should’ve started doing this stuff ages ago.