Jim Gray (1944-2012).
Here’s to a wonderful human being, an amazing scientist, and a great role model. I am so honored to have known, have worked with, and have had him as a mentor in Microsoft. Jim was the one who advised me to move to the US and join Don Box’s group. He mentored me while in Microsoft and advised me to transition to Tony Hey‘s group, where I had a blast. I was getting ready to move to the San Francisco Microsoft Research lab to work directly under Jim when he disappeared, in January of 2007.
His contributions to Computer Science are unparalleled! His interaction style and ability to make you feel special were unique.