Josephine M. Cheng retires from IBM in 2016. Cheng has been Vice President of IBM Research, Almaden in San Jose, California, oversees more than 400 scientists and engineers doing exploratory and applied research in various hardware, software and service areas, including nanotechnology, materials science, storage systems, data management, web technologies, workplace practices and user interfaces.
Cheng has been at the forefront of relational database technology for over 20 years. Prior to her current role, she was Vice President for IBM China Development Laboratories from 2004-June 2008. She led the China Software Development Laboratory (CSDL) located in three major cities: Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei, with a combined total of more than 3,000 employees.
She led development of DB2/390 query optimization in the early 1980s and then, in 1987, joined IBM Fellow Patricia Selinger (now retired) to form the Database Technology Institute (DBTI) to focus the creation of database technology in IBM's Research and Software divisions on common goals.
Through 1994, DBTI was largely focused on technology for DB2 database management systems running on the MVS, VM, VSE, OS/400, Unix, OS/2 and NT operating systems. Cheng concentrated on query-optimization technologies, contributing significantly in the creation of the hybrid-join algorithm, optimization for the execution of outer join, subquery-to-join transformations and several other advances that helped make DB2 widely successful. In 1992, she initiated development of object-relational technologies, which resulted in text and image extenders to DB2, which debuted in 1996.
She was also principally responsible for developing IBM's database technology for the web, allowing people to access huge amounts of data via the internet that was previously accessible only through proprietary systems. Her teams have produced such landmark database technologies and products as: DB2 World-Wide Web and its follow-on, Net.Data, providing web access to corporate databases; XML Extender for DB2, permitting popular XML-formatted data to be integrated into DB2; and DB2 Everyplace, a tiny, totally self-managing database system that extends the power of DB2 to convenient pervasive computing devices such as handheld computers and cellular phones.
Cheng was inducted into the United States National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2006 for sustained leadership and contributions to relational database technology and its pervasive applications to a wide range of digital operational systems. She has been a member of National Academy of Engineering Council since 2016,
She has been awarded 28 patents for her inventions.
Born in Vietnam and raised in Hong Kong, Cheng was educated at the University of California, Los Angeles (B.S., 1975, Mathematics and Computer Science; M.S., 1977, Computer Science). She is a resident of San Jose, California.