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Tech Talk: Categories are Databases

Galois, Inc
421 SW 6th Ave. Suite 300
Portland, OR 97204, US (map)



Galois is pleased to host the following tech talk. These talks are open to the interested public. Please join us!

IMPORTANT: Please note that this talk is Thursday.


Categories are Databases 


Dr. David Spivak 


10:30 am, 03 June 2010, Thursday 


Galois Inc.
421 SW 6th Ave. Suite 300, Portland, OR, USA
(3rd floor of the Commonwealth building) 


Category theory is a powerful language for organizing layers of abstraction in all areas of mathematics. Databases are powerful tools for organizing information of all sorts. Whereas categories are often considered hopelessly abstract, databases are often considered horrifically mundane. Thus it is either strange or fitting that, mathematically speaking, categories and databases are the same concept. In this talk I’ll show how to turn any database into a category and any category into a database. I’ll also discuss functors and how they may be useful for issues of data migration and merging.


David Spivak graduated with a PhD in mathematics from UC Berkeley in 2007; his thesis used higher category theory to fix an old problem in geometry. From 2007 to the present, he have been a postdoc at the University of Oregon in the Math Department. During this time, his focus has moved toward the idea of using category theory to understand information and communication.  This summer, he will become a mathematics postdoc at MIT for three years, focusing on information and communication from a category-theoretic perspective.