Dr. Ashraf Aboulnaga

Asharaf Aboulnga2
Research Director
Distributed Systems
+974 4454 1426

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QCRI is an ambitious and energetic place that is on track to become a top research center worldwide. I want to be part of making that happen.

Research Focus at QCRI

At QCRI, Dr. Aboulnaga will focus his research on cloud computing and distributed systems.

Previous Experience

Dr Ashraf Aboulnaga joined QCRI in 2013. Previously he was Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada. He also worked as a research staff member at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, USA, and was a visiting scientist at Google. Ashraf's research interests are in the area of data intensive cloud computing and distributed systems. He has received multiple awards including the Ontario Early Researcher Award, a Google Research Award, two awards from the IBM Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) in Toronto for Project of the Year (2008) and Innovation Impact of the Year (2009). Ashraf received best paper awards at the ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing (SoCC) in 2015, and at the International Conference on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB) in 2011.  He is an IEEE Senior Member and an ACM Distinguished Scientist.

Professional Experience

  • University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, Cheriton School of Computer Science.
    • Associate Professor, 2009–present.
    • Assistant Professor, 2004–2009.
  • Google, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Visiting Research Scientist, December 2009–June 2010.
  •  IBM Almaden Research Center, San Jose, California, USA. Research Staff Member, 2002–2004.
  •  University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
    • Research Assistant, 1997–2002.
    • Teaching Assistant, 1996.
  •  Microsoft Research, Redmond, Washington, USA. Researcher Intern, May–August 1999 and May–August 1998.
  •  Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt. Lecturer, 1993–1996

Professional Associations and Awards

  • ACM Distinguished Scientist, 2015
  • Best Paper Award at the ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing (SoCC), 2015
  • Best Paper Award at the International Conference on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB), 2011.
  • Ontario Early Researcher Award, 2009.
  • Google Research Award, 2008.
  • IBM Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) Faculty Fellow, 2006–present.
  • IBM CAS Project of the Year Award (2008) and Innovation Impact of the Year Award (2009).
  • Microsoft Research Graduate Fellowship, 1998–2000.
  • B.S. with First Degree of Honor (Summa Cum Laude), 1993.
Professional memberships
  • Senior member of IEEE and IEEE Computer Society
  • Senior member of ACM and ACM SIGMOD
  • Ashraf Aboulnaga, Andrey Balmin, Kevin Beyer, Iman Elghandour, Fei Chiang, Daniel C. Zilio, and Calisto Zuzarte. “Index Selection for XML Database Systems,” US Patent Application No. 11/849,196, filed August 2007. (pending)
  • Volker Markl, Peter J. Haas, Ashraf Aboulnaga, Vijayashankar Raman, and Felix Endres. “System and Method for Updating Database Statistics According to Query Feedback,” US Patent No. 7,831,592, filed October 2004, issued November 2010.
  • Ashraf Aboulnaga, Peter J. Haas, Sam Lightstone, Volker Markl, Ivan Popivanov, and Vijayshankar Raman. “Method, System and Program for Prioritizing Maintenance of Database Tables,” US Patent No. 7,363,324, filed December 2004, issued April 2008.
  • Surajit Chaudhuri and Ashraf Aboulnaga. “Query Optimization by Sub-plan Memoization,” US Patent No. 6,850,925, filed May 2001, issued February 2005.
  • Ashraf Aboulnaga and Surajit Chaudhuri. “Self-tuning Histogram and Database Modeling,” US Patent No. 6,460,045, filed March 1999, issued October 2002.


  • PhD, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2002
  • MS, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1999
  • MS, Alexandria University, Egypt, 1996
  • BS, Alexandria University, Egypt, 1993

Selected Research

  • Carlos H. C. Teixeira, Alexandre J. Fonseca, Marco Serafini, Georgos Siganos, Mohammed J. Zaki, and Ashraf Aboulnaga. "Arabesque: A System for Distributed Graph Mining." In Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP), October 2015.
  • Rui Liu, Ashraf Aboulnaga, and Kenneth Salem. "DAX: A Widely Distributed Multi-tenant Storage Service for DBMS Hosting." Proceedings of the VLDB Endowment (PVLDB), volume 6, number 4, 2013. Presented at the International Conference on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB '13), Riva del Garda, Italy, August 2013. 
  • Jingen Xiang, Cong Guo, and Ashraf Aboulnaga. "Scalable Maximum Clique Computation Using MapReduce." IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE '13), Brisbane, Australia, pages 74-85, April 2013. 
  • Iman Elghandour, Ashraf Aboulnaga, Daniel C. Zilio, and Calisto Zuzarte. "Recommending XML Physical Designs for XML Databases." The VLDB Journal (VLDBJ), 2013. 
  •  Umar Farooq Minhas, Shriram Rajagopalan, Brendan Cully, Ashraf Aboulnaga, Kenneth Salem, and Andrew Warfield. "RemusDB: Transparent High Availability for Database Systems." The VLDB Journal (VLDBJ), volume 22, number 1, pages 29-45, February 2013. 
  • Iman Elghandour and Ashraf Aboulnaga. "ReStore: Reusing Results of MapReduce Jobs." Proceedings of the VLDB Endowment (PVLDB), volume 5, number 6, pages 586-597, February 2012. Presented at the International Conference on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB '12), Istanbul, Turkey, August 2012. 

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