For the first time in PODS, there was a session devoted to some papers that were published in this conference and have been very influential. In PODS 2016 this session included two talks:
- Optimal Score Aggregation Algorithms by Ron Fagin
- Hypertree Decompositions: Question and Answers by Georg Gottlob
The first talk was about the paper  published in PODS 2001, while the second one was about the paper  published in PODS 1999. It is well worth reading both articles! You can find the presentations of both talks at the Gems of PODS page.
In this post I would to give some more details about , which I know better and have used in my own research.
Consider the following evaluation problem: given a Boolean conjunctive query Q and a database instance I, decide whether Q holds in I. This problem is known to be NP-complete, which motivated Gottlob, Leone and Scarcello to look for natural restrictions on conjunctive queries that could lead to tractability. In particular, motivated by this issue they introduced in  the notions of hypertree decomposition and hypertree width of a conjunctive query. The hypertree width of a conjunctive query Q is a natural number greater than or equal to 1 that essentially measures how acyclic Q is, the lower this value the more acyclic the query is. In fact, the hypertree width of a conjunctive query Q is 1 if and only if Q is acyclic in the usual sense studied in the database literature since the early 80s (see  for a definition of this notion). The notion of hypertree width helps in solving the intractability issue of the evaluation problem; for the class of conjunctive queries whose hypertree width is bounded by a fixed constant k the evaluation problem can be solved in polynomial time. Moreover, it can be verified in polynomial time whether the hypertree width of a conjunctive query is bounded by a fixed constant k.
It is important to notice that the notions of hypertree decomposition and hypertree width can also be used for the more general case of non-Boolean conjunctive queries, but the size of the output needs to be taken into consideration in this context. A more detailed discussion about this and many more details about these two notions can be found in the article accompanying the invited talk by Georg , including some more recent results concerning them and a section discussing the applicability of these techniques in real-world applications.
- Ronald Fagin, Amnon Lotem, Moni Naor: Optimal Aggregation Algorithms for Middleware. PODS 2001: 102-113.
- Georg Gottlob, Nicola Leone, Francesco Scarcello: Hypertree Decompositions and Tractable Queries. PODS 1999: 21-32.
- Mihalis Yannakakis: Algorithms for Acyclic Database Schemes. VLDB 1981: 82-94.
- Georg Gottlob, Gianluigi Greco, Nicola Leone, Francesco Scarcello: Hypertree Decompositions: Questions and Answers. PODS 2016: 57-74.