Computer Sciences Dept.

Zuyu Zhang


Picture of Zuyu Zhang

Brief Biography

Hi, there! I earned a Ph.D. degree in Computer Sciences, with an emphasis on database systems, from University of Wisconsin, Madison, under the guidance of Prof. Jignesh Patel. Before that, I received a B.Eng. degree in Computer Science and Technology from Harbin Institute of Technology, China.

I work at a cloud database startup, after a stint at Amazon Aurora MySQL of AWS.


  • 09/2019: defended the dissertation titled Towards Efficient Data Processing Methods For In-Memory Architectures.
  • 06/2019: designed and implemented a unified in-memory data platform for both SQL and graph analytics in Rust.
  • 03/2019: co-organized ACM SIGMOD Programming Contest 2019.
  • 02/2019: our datalog processing paper, which leverages Quickstep for graph analytics and program analysis, accepted at VLDB 2019.
  • 10/2018: our in-memory data partitioning paper accepted at CIDR 2019.
  • 06/2018: won ACM SIGMOD 2018 Programming Contest (poster).
  • 02/2018: the single-node Quickstep paper, which supports TPC-H SF-100, accepted at VLDB 2018.
  • 10/2016: interned in the Qubos team at Google.
  • 01/2016: open-sourced Quickstep under the Apache License.
  • 08/2015: passed the Ph.D. Prelim Exam, and thus become a Dissertator.
  • 06/2015: joined Pivotal Software to advance the state-of-the-art SQL-on-Hadoop engine, as a part of its acquisition of Quickstep Technologies, LLC.
  • 04/2015: organized SACM's Panel on Preparing Ph.D. Prelim Exam (CS internal link).
  • 11/2014: organized SACM's first Career Panel.
  • 09/2014: passed the 4-hour written Ph.D. qual (pdf) in database systems.
  • 08/2014: as one of only two Badger technical @terns at Twitter, prototyped the first event-based Apache Mesos scheduler for Twitter Heron, the next generation Apache Storm.
  • 12/2013: became the President of SACM.
  • 09/2013: my database journey starts with CS764 Topics in Database Management Systems taught by Jeff Naughton.

"Play for the long term. Choose jobs working on technology that will still be relevant a decade hence. Choose jobs that build on your strengths but significantly stretch beyond them. Always say 'yes' to requests to do more or take on more. Each is an opportunity. Choose jobs working with the best in the industry. Working with the best is the quickest way to learn. Never let go of the details even as you take on broader roles. Don't worry about money, job title, or recognition. It'll all come and never leave if you get these four goals right. Short term decisions often yield little and what they do offer doesn't last. Play the long game." -- James Hamilton

"I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot... and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." -- Michael Jordan

Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people. -- Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

There are two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors. Courtesy of Phil Karlton

The Last Bug

"You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance." -- Ray Bradbury

Max Ehrmann's Desiderata

Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. -- Prof. Randy Pausch

I strove with none, for none was worth my strife;
Nature I loved, and next to Nature, Art.
I warm'd both hands before the fire of life;
It sinks, and I am ready to depart.
-- Walter Savage Landor's On His Seventy Fifth Birthday (in 1850)

"...a hitchhiker at dawn on a road somewhere and the sun comes up and there are trains going by. The frame of mind of the young hitchhiker is one of the freest frames of mind there is. You’re always a little bit hungry and you know you are being completely foolish."
-- Stewart Brand on stay hungry, stay foolish (Chinese version)

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. This I did. -- T. E. Lawrence of Arabia

If you are looking for a career where your services will be in high demand, you should find something where you provide a scarce, complementary service to something that is getting ubiquitous and cheap. So what’s getting ubiquitous and cheap? Data. And what is complementary to data? Analysis. -- Hal Varian answers your questions

All of my best decisions in business and in life have been made with heart, intuition, guts... not analysis. -- Jeff Bezos interviewed at the Economic Club of WA.

The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another. Avarice over-rates the difference between poverty and riches: ambition, that between a private and a public station: vain-glory, that between obscurity and extensive reputation. The person under the influence of any of those extravagant passions, is not only miserable in his actual situation, but is often disposed to disturb the peace of society, in order to arrive at that which he so foolishly admires. -- Adam Smith in ``Theory of Moral Sentiments''

You want to look for the job in life that you would take, if you didn't need a job. That won't necessarily find it on your first job. You gotta make a living, too, but don't settle for anything eventually, that's less than working for a company you admire or people you admire and really the job if you had no need for the money, it's still the job that you jump out of bed for in the morning. -- Warren Buffett

Namo Amitabha Buddha!

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