DSL History

The lab was conceptualized by Jayant Haritsa in early 1995 to serve as a dedicated facility for database system research and development. It has been housed in Room 302B of SERC since that time. Airconditioning and networking were completed in the summer of 1995. Our first machine (Dias), a Sparc 1 workstation donated by Texas Instruments, arrived on August 1, 1995. The second machine (Midas), a Sparc 20, purchased from DST project funds, arrived in October 1995. The Illustra ORDBMS commercial software package was installed in early December 1995. A Pentium PC (Darbari) was added in August 1996. The laser printer was acquired in September 1996. A host of public-domain database and utility software was installed during 1995-96. Transparent access to user accounts from any machine in the lab is operational since October 1996.

An inkjet printer was donated by Persistent Dataview in April 1997. Two UltraSparc 170E workstations (Basant and Malhar), purchased from DST project funds, were added in June 1997. Another Pentium PC (Bhairav), purchased from Hitachi project funds, was added in early 1998. A Modi Xerox machine was added in mid-1998. An SGI Octane workstation (Hamir), purchased from DBT project funds, arrived in March 1999. A second-hand laptop (Kedar) came in at around the same time.

New airconditioning units from LG were installed in September 2000. A new P-III-based server (Yaman) was brought in during late 2000 and upgrades of the existing machines were also done at this time using SERC matching funds. Addition of more work cubicles and repainting of the entire lab was done in early 2001. Purchase of an IBM laptop (Kamod) and a multimedia projector, Infocus 435z, made it possible to make presentations in the lab.

An extension of the lab, called DSL Annexe, was set up in Room 323 in summer 2001. Then, in 2002, we acquired Room 302A, formerly the SERC Students Lab, and this became the new DSL Annexe. The previous Annexe in Room 323 was converted into a DSL Server room, where the mail, web and file servers were located. Airconditioning of both Rooms 323 and 302A was also completed in 2002.

Our space acquisition spree continued with taking up Room 301 and converting it into a lounge in summer of 2002. The lounge is intended to serve as a reception place for visitors as well as a relaxation space for lab members (it even includes a bed!). Several new P-III and P-IV-based PCs (Pahadi, Sohani, Multani and Bihag) were also added during this time. The Dias system, which was the first machine to feature in our lab, was sadly put to pasture, having outlived its usefulness. The Oracle and DB2 software packages were installed in several lab machines since a significant portion of the lab work was now in the middleware domain.

In Summer 2003, we purchased Deepak, a high-performance two-processor Compaq ES45 server with 16GB memory and 432 GB of hard disk. A new wireless laptop, Kafi, was also brought into the lab's stockpile during the same period. Yet another room, Room 322, was acquired to host DSL visitors in the form of summer interns and project assistants. Four new IBM PCs (Bahar, Durga, Deshkar, Poorvi) were added in October 2003. Digital thermometers were installed in all the airconditioned rooms in December 2003. The multimedia projector was ceiling mounted at this time with the switches located in the center table to make presentation setup completely hassle-free. All the P-III PCs (excepting Yaman and Marwa) were upgraded to P-IV PCs to have a consistent platform across the lab. Finally, Deepak was made the lab's NIS and file server, replacing Malhar, who had rendered gallant service in these tasks.

A DVD writer was purchased in February 2004. The Web-pages were reorganized in Summer 2004 to clearly distinguish between global, IISc-accessible and lab-internal pages. The Visitors room was made fully functional in the summer, and was augmented with the arrival of Bhairav, a high-end PC, towards the end of the year.

The lab was made energy efficient and the chairs were refurbished in August 2005. Bhairav was moved into the main lab and Lalit was its replacement in the Visitors room.

In summer of 2006, outdated equipment including the Xerox machine, OHP and a few tape drives, were written off and replaced with a HP 7408 OfficeJet All-in-One system. The ACs came under an AMC set up by SERC. All mice were made optical.

In November 2006, the beta version of the Picasso Database Query Optimizer Visualizer software was released by Prof. N. Balakrishnan, the Associate Director of IISc, and was made available for free download on the Internet. It was picked up by a variety of institutions all over the world ranging from industrial research labs to academic schools.

In December 2006, for the first time, 64-bit machines made an entry into the lab in the form of three Opteron-processor-based Sun Ultra20 machines.

In February 2008, several machines (Malhar, Basant, Hamir, Yaman, Pahadi, Sohani, Marwa) that had rendered yeoman service over the last decade were euthanized under a buy-back scheme through which the Annex machines (Tilang, Sarang, Multani, Bihag) had all their 17" CRT monitors replaced with 19" TFT color LCD Viewsonic displays with built-in speakers. The Lalit machine replace Marwa in the lounge, leaving the Visitors room cleared of all computing equipment.

In May 2008, we were hit hard due to both Deepak and Midas suffering hard disk crashes within a few days of each other. It proved hard to resucitate Midas, which had rendered close to 15 years of gallant service, and with a heavy heart, it was put down. Darbari took over the role of Midas and a web-mail interface was added.

In September 2008, all the 20-inch analog monitors were replaced with 19-inch TFT LCD monitors in our continuing effort to be environment-friendly. Then, in early October 2008, a batch of six high-end Sun Ultra 24 quad-core machines arrived, armed with 24-inch monitors, representing a quantum jump in our computing capabilities. Our hardware spree continued in November 2008, with the arrival of four Thinkpad laptops, two T61s, one X300 and one X61 Tablet.

In July 2009, we were the beneficiaries of a Xeon-based quad-core server gifted by CSA.

Research and course students from the Supercomputer Education & Research Centre and the Department of Computer Science & Automation work in this lab on database systems research and development.

Details of the lab's activities and members are available on the lab home page.