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A warm welcome to the 34th International Conference on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB) in Auckland, New Zealand. The annual VLDB Conference is the premier international venue for the dissemination and exchange of ideas in the broad area of data management, both in the development of and application of new technology. We hope you find both the conference and its location enjoyable.

Following tradition, the program contains keynote addresses by Mark Hill, University of Wisconsin; Justin Zobel, University of Melbourne; and the VLDB 10-year best paper award presentation. This year also marks two significant departures from tradition. First, the introduction of an Experiments and Analyses track devoted to analytical or empirical studies and of existing techniques. A measure of the success of this track is that one of the papers was selected as co-recipient of the best paper award. Second, this year saw the first moves towards the transformation of the VLDB proceedings into a fully refereed journal. If this succeeds, it will radically transform the whole process of paper review and selection of VLDB presentations.

The conference received 744 submissions overall, including 675 to the four paper tracks. The Core Database Technology track received 273 submissions out of which 46 (16.8%) were accepted; the Infrastructure for Information Systems track received 296 submissions out of which 49 (16.8%) were accepted; the Industrial Applications and Experience track received 45 submissions out of which 12 (26.7%) were accepted; the Demonstrations track received 107 submissions out of which 30 (28%) were accepted; finally, the new Experiments and Analyses track received 23 submissions of which 6 (26.1%) were accepted. In addition, the Core Database Technology and Infrastructure for Information Systems committees recommended some of their submissions to the Industrial Applications and Experience track. Three of these were accepted. VLDB continues to co-ordinate with Sigmod, and 13 papers were rolled over for consideration by Sigmod 2009.

In comparison to 2007 when there was a substantial drop in submissions, this year shows a modest increase. Overall submissions are up by 11.1%, Core Database Technology is up by 3.8%, Infrastructure for Information Systems is up by 6.9%, Demonstrations is up by 44%. The only track to lose ground is Industrial Applications and Experience, which is down by 19.6%.

The conference is preceded by a strong program of 10 workshops selected by Susan Davidson, Fred Lochovsky and Eric Simon. Of these, the VLDB PhD workshop, continues to be encouraged and embraced by the VLDB program chairs, and this year was chaired by Anastasia Ailamaki and Neoklis Polyzotis. The tutorial program chairs, Rick Hull, Yannis Velegrakis and Xiaofang Zhou selected eight tutorials that cover a wide range of database-related topics. By general consensus among the program chairs, panels were not actively encouraged.

The VLDB 10-year best paper award goes to Roger Weber, Hans-Jörg Schek and Stephen Blott for their 1998 VLDB paper "A Quantitative Analysis and Performance Study for Similarity-Search Methods in High-Dimensional Spaces". The authors will deliver a keynote talk. The awards committee consisted of Surajit Chaudhuri (chair), Heikki Mannila, Hamid Pirahesh, Oded Shmueli and Gerhard Weikum.

The 2008 best paper award goes to two papers: "Constrained Physical Design Tuning" by Nicolas Bruno and Surajit Chaudhuri, and to "Finding Frequent Items in Data Streams" by Graham Cormode and Marios Hadjieleftheriou. The selection committee consisted of Sam Madden, Jeff Naughton (chair) and Dan Suciu.

We would like to thank all our colleagues who served on the progam committees or acted as external reviewers. We would also like to thank Laura Haas and Gill Dobbie the general chairs of the conference, Renee Miller (VLDB Liason) and Gerhard Weikum (VLDB Endowment Chair) for their frequent and constructive advice. Very special thanks go to Gerald Weber, who has undertaken not only the conference organization but also the proceedings. We are also grateful to the CMT support team for responding to a number of complex requests.

Peter Buneman
General Program Chair

Beng Chin Ooi
Core Database Technology Program Chair

Kenneth Ross
Infrastructure for Information Systems Program Chair

Rajeev Rastogi
Industrial Applications and Experience Program Chair

Tova Milo
Demonstrations Program Chair

Volker Markl
Experiments and Analyses Program Chair