Wednesday, July 16, 2003

R. I. P. Ted Codd

"A relation is in second normal form if the relation depends on the key, the whole key, and nothing but the key, so help me Codd": A mnemonic from Codd on the second normal form {courtesy: Don Burleson} [more on Codd's normal forms]

A post long overdue. On April 18, 2003 Database legend and father of the relational model, Edgar "Ted" Codd died at his home in Florida. He was 79. Anyone working in IT/software development has dealt with his legacy -- relational databases. In his now revolutionary paper, "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks", Codd proposed a replacement for the hierarchical database model. The replacement comprised simple tables containing rows and columns. The need to provide a practical "proof-of-concept" implementation of Codd's idea led to the birth of System R, another hallowed name in database history. This model was also the seed for the first commercially available relational database in 1977 by a company called Relational Software Inc. Six years later, its creator, Larry Ellison, renamed his company Oracle. Codd won the prestigious Turing Award in 1981 and will be remembered, especially by those who only have his work as an introduction to his genius, as the person responsible for the rules of normalization, and someone who made a science of database management. {IBM Research Obit} {Mercury News}{wiki}

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