Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79

Post by Gary Valma » Fri, 25 Apr 2003 12:03:40



Quote:>From Today's New York Times,

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79
By KATIE HAFNER

Edgar F. Codd, a mathematician and computer scientist who laid the
theoretical foundation for relational databases, the standard method by
which information is organized in and retrieved from computers, died on
Friday at his home in Williams Island, Fla. He was 79.

The cause was heart failure, said his wife, Sharon B. Codd.
Computers can store vast amounts of data. But before Dr. Codd's work found
its way into commercial products, electronic databases were "completely ad
hoc and higgledy-piggledy," said Chris Date, a database expert and former
business partner of Dr. Codd's, who was known as Ted.

Dr. Codd's idea, based on mathematical set theory, was to store data in
cross-referenced tables, allowing the information to be presented in
multiple permutations. For instance, a user could ask the computer for a
list of all baseball players from both the National League and the American
League with batting averages over .300.
Relational databases now lie at the heart of systems ranging from hospitals'
patient records to airline flights and schedules.

While working as a researcher at the I.B.M. San Jose Research Laboratory in
the 1960's and 70's, Dr. Codd wrote several papers outlining his ideas. To
his frustration, I.B.M. largely ignored his work, as the company was
investing heavily at the time in commercializing a different type of
database system.

"His approach was not, shall we say, welcomed with open arms at I.B.M.,"
said Harwood Kolsky, a physicist who worked with Dr. Codd at I.B.M. in the
1950's and 60's. "It was a revolutionary approach."

It was not until 1978 that Frank T. Cary, then chairman and chief executive
of I.B.M., ordered the company to build a product based on Dr. Codd's ideas.
But I.B.M. was beaten to the market by Lawrence J. Ellison, a Silicon Valley
entrepreneur, who used Dr. Codd's papers as the basis of a product around
which he built a start-up company that has since become the Oracle
Corporation.

"The sad thing is that Ted never became rich out of his idea," Mr. Date
said. "Other people did, but not Ted."
Edgar Frank Codd was born the youngest of seven children in Portland Bill,
in Dorset, England, in 1923. His father was a leather manufacturer, his
mother a schoolteacher.

He attended Oxford University on a full scholarship, studying mathematics
and chemistry. During World War II, he was a pilot with the Royal Air Force.
In 1948 he moved to New York and, hearing that I.B.M. was hiring
mathematicians, obtained a job there as a researcher.

A few years later, in 1953, angered by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy's pursuit
of Americans he said had Communist ties or sympathies, Dr. Codd moved to
Ottawa for several years.

After returning to the United States, he began graduate studies at the
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he received his doctorate in
computer science in 1965. In 1967, he moved to California to work in the
I.B.M. San Jose Research Laboratory.

He and his first wife, Elizabeth, were divorced in 1978. In 1990, Dr. Codd
married Sharon Weinberg, a mathematician and I.B.M. colleague.

In 1981, he received the A. M. Turing Award, the highest honor in the
computer science field.

Dr. Codd is survived by his wife, of Williams Island; a daughter, Katherine
Codd Clark of Palo Alto, Calif.; three sons, Ronald, of Alamo, Calif.,
Frank, of Castro Valley, Calif., and David, of Boca Raton, Fla.; and six
grandchildren.

------ End of Forwarded Message

 
 
 

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79

Post by Gary Valma » Fri, 25 Apr 2003 12:03:42


Quote:>From Today's New York Times,

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79
By KATIE HAFNER

Edgar F. Codd, a mathematician and computer scientist who laid the
theoretical foundation for relational databases, the standard method by
which information is organized in and retrieved from computers, died on
Friday at his home in Williams Island, Fla. He was 79.

The cause was heart failure, said his wife, Sharon B. Codd.
Computers can store vast amounts of data. But before Dr. Codd's work found
its way into commercial products, electronic databases were "completely ad
hoc and higgledy-piggledy," said Chris Date, a database expert and former
business partner of Dr. Codd's, who was known as Ted.

Dr. Codd's idea, based on mathematical set theory, was to store data in
cross-referenced tables, allowing the information to be presented in
multiple permutations. For instance, a user could ask the computer for a
list of all baseball players from both the National League and the American
League with batting averages over .300.
Relational databases now lie at the heart of systems ranging from hospitals'
patient records to airline flights and schedules.

While working as a researcher at the I.B.M. San Jose Research Laboratory in
the 1960's and 70's, Dr. Codd wrote several papers outlining his ideas. To
his frustration, I.B.M. largely ignored his work, as the company was
investing heavily at the time in commercializing a different type of
database system.

"His approach was not, shall we say, welcomed with open arms at I.B.M.,"
said Harwood Kolsky, a physicist who worked with Dr. Codd at I.B.M. in the
1950's and 60's. "It was a revolutionary approach."

It was not until 1978 that Frank T. Cary, then chairman and chief executive
of I.B.M., ordered the company to build a product based on Dr. Codd's ideas.
But I.B.M. was beaten to the market by Lawrence J. Ellison, a Silicon Valley
entrepreneur, who used Dr. Codd's papers as the basis of a product around
which he built a start-up company that has since become the Oracle
Corporation.

"The sad thing is that Ted never became rich out of his idea," Mr. Date
said. "Other people did, but not Ted."
Edgar Frank Codd was born the youngest of seven children in Portland Bill,
in Dorset, England, in 1923. His father was a leather manufacturer, his
mother a schoolteacher.

He attended Oxford University on a full scholarship, studying mathematics
and chemistry. During World War II, he was a pilot with the Royal Air Force.
In 1948 he moved to New York and, hearing that I.B.M. was hiring
mathematicians, obtained a job there as a researcher.

A few years later, in 1953, angered by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy's pursuit
of Americans he said had Communist ties or sympathies, Dr. Codd moved to
Ottawa for several years.

After returning to the United States, he began graduate studies at the
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he received his doctorate in
computer science in 1965. In 1967, he moved to California to work in the
I.B.M. San Jose Research Laboratory.

He and his first wife, Elizabeth, were divorced in 1978. In 1990, Dr. Codd
married Sharon Weinberg, a mathematician and I.B.M. colleague.

In 1981, he received the A. M. Turing Award, the highest honor in the
computer science field.

Dr. Codd is survived by his wife, of Williams Island; a daughter, Katherine
Codd Clark of Palo Alto, Calif.; three sons, Ronald, of Alamo, Calif.,
Frank, of Castro Valley, Calif., and David, of Boca Raton, Fla.; and six
grandchildren.

------ End of Forwarded Message

 
 
 

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79

Post by Henry Keultj » Fri, 25 Apr 2003 19:06:25



> >From Today's New York Times,

> Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79
> By KATIE HAFNER

Gary:

Thanks for sharing that with us.

On several occasions I have read comments about E.F. admitting that
Pick was a more practical approach to database design.   If you know
how to find those references, would you mind posting them here?

Henry Keultjes

 
 
 

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79

Post by rg » Fri, 25 Apr 2003 21:24:51




Quote:> > >From Today's New York Times,

> > Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79
> > By KATIE HAFNER

> Gary:

> Thanks for sharing that with us.

> On several occasions I have read comments about E.F. admitting that
> Pick was a more practical approach to database design.   If you know
> how to find those references, would you mind posting them here?

> Henry Keultjes

And I'm pretty sure that I've ready anti-Pick statements by Codd.

rg

 
 
 

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79

Post by Mike Pree » Sat, 26 Apr 2003 10:14:33



> >From Today's New York Times,
[snip]
> Dr. Codd is survived by his wife, of Williams Island; a daughter, Katherine
> Codd Clark of Palo Alto, Calif.; three sons, Ronald, of Alamo, Calif.,
> Frank, of Castro Valley, Calif., and David, of Boca Raton, Fla.; and six
> grandchildren.

> ------ End of Forwarded Message

Does anyone know if his grandchildren are allowed to live in the same
place as their parents?
 
 
 

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79

Post by Kevin Powic » Sat, 26 Apr 2003 12:14:23





> > >From Today's New York Times,
> [snip]
> > Dr. Codd is survived by his wife, of Williams Island; a daughter, Katherine
> > Codd Clark of Palo Alto, Calif.; three sons, Ronald, of Alamo, Calif.,
> > Frank, of Castro Valley, Calif., and David, of Boca Raton, Fla.; and six
> > grandchildren.

> > ------ End of Forwarded Message

> Does anyone know if his grandchildren are allowed to live in the same
> place as their parents?

I'm sure he's turning over in his grave as this announcement is
duplicated and posted all over the place instead of link back to the
original copy.

--
Kevin Powick

 
 
 

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79

Post by BobJ » Sat, 26 Apr 2003 19:18:53




Quote:> > >From Today's New York Times,
> [snip]
> > Dr. Codd is survived by his wife, of Williams Island; a daughter,
Katherine
> > Codd Clark of Palo Alto, Calif.; three sons, Ronald, of Alamo, Calif.,
> > Frank, of Castro Valley, Calif., and David, of Boca Raton, Fla.; and six
> > grandchildren.

> > ------ End of Forwarded Message

> Does anyone know if his grandchildren are allowed to live in the same
> place as their parents?

Why should his live nearby?  Mine span half the globe!  I guess that's just
the nature of the modern world.  We don't have the benefit and comfort of
the extended family coming to Sunday dinner on a routine basis.  We had 3 of
the 4 offspring and 8 of the 10 grandchildren in the same room for one day
last week for perhaps the first time in 3 or 4 years.
BobJ
 
 
 

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79

Post by d » Sat, 26 Apr 2003 22:49:17







> > > >From Today's New York Times,
>  [snip]
> > > Dr. Codd is survived by his wife, of Williams Island; a daughter,
>  Katherine
> > > Codd Clark of Palo Alto, Calif.; three sons, Ronald, of Alamo, Calif.,
> > > Frank, of Castro Valley, Calif., and David, of Boca Raton, Fla.; and six
> > > grandchildren.

> > > ------ End of Forwarded Message

> > Does anyone know if his grandchildren are allowed to live in the same
> > place as their parents?

> Why should his live nearby?  Mine span half the globe!  I guess that's just
> the nature of the modern world.  We don't have the benefit and comfort of
> the extended family coming to Sunday dinner on a routine basis.  We had 3 of
> the 4 offspring and 8 of the 10 grandchildren in the same room for one day
> last week for perhaps the first time in 3 or 4 years.
> BobJ

I've been enjoying Mike's contribution all day.  Now I've read BobJ's
I'm lost.  Can anyone offer an explanation, or is it because I'm from
the north of England?
 
 
 

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79

Post by BobJ » Sat, 26 Apr 2003 22:54:12


There is Colonial folk lore that people from the Home Islands have a certain
lack of the ability to enjoy subtle humor.  (Is that delicate enough?)  The
first reference was to the fact that his children are scattered across the
country, and why can't they stay home.  My complaint was that mine are also
scattered but it seems to be something that we must live with in the modern
world.  But we don't have to like it.
BobJ






> > > > >From Today's New York Times,
> >  [snip]
> > > > Dr. Codd is survived by his wife, of Williams Island; a daughter,
> >  Katherine
> > > > Codd Clark of Palo Alto, Calif.; three sons, Ronald, of Alamo,
Calif.,
> > > > Frank, of Castro Valley, Calif., and David, of Boca Raton, Fla.; and
six
> > > > grandchildren.

> > > > ------ End of Forwarded Message

> > > Does anyone know if his grandchildren are allowed to live in the same
> > > place as their parents?

> > Why should his live nearby?  Mine span half the globe!  I guess that's
just
> > the nature of the modern world.  We don't have the benefit and comfort
of
> > the extended family coming to Sunday dinner on a routine basis.  We had
3 of
> > the 4 offspring and 8 of the 10 grandchildren in the same room for one
day
> > last week for perhaps the first time in 3 or 4 years.
> > BobJ

> I've been enjoying Mike's contribution all day.  Now I've read BobJ's
> I'm lost.  Can anyone offer an explanation, or is it because I'm from
> the north of England?

 
 
 

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79

Post by Don Verhage » Sat, 26 Apr 2003 23:28:55




: The first reference was to the fact that his children are
: scattered across the country, and why can't they stay home.  My
: complaint was that mine are also scattered but it seems to be
: something that we must live with in the modern world.  But we don't
: have to like it.
: BobJ

I believe Mike's reference was that fact that parent and child (and
grandchildren) records cannot live in the same table in the 1NF world as
they can in the Pick world. But, hey, it's Friday morning and I have a
hangover, maybe I didn't get the reference either.

Don Verhagen



:::: Does anyone know if his grandchildren are allowed to live in the
:::: same place as their parents?
:::

 
 
 

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79

Post by BobJ » Sat, 26 Apr 2003 23:54:35


Perhaps it was double entendre.  But it is interesting that in the old world
the family was more or less 3nf and now it is more or less 1nf.  As a former
Colonial (several generations removed) I did not catch the 1nf reference.
BobJ



> : The first reference was to the fact that his children are
> : scattered across the country, and why can't they stay home.  My
> : complaint was that mine are also scattered but it seems to be
> : something that we must live with in the modern world.  But we don't
> : have to like it.
> : BobJ

> I believe Mike's reference was that fact that parent and child (and
> grandchildren) records cannot live in the same table in the 1NF world as
> they can in the Pick world. But, hey, it's Friday morning and I have a
> hangover, maybe I didn't get the reference either.

> Don Verhagen



> :::: Does anyone know if his grandchildren are allowed to live in the
> :::: same place as their parents?
> :::

 
 
 

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79

Post by sdavmo » Sun, 27 Apr 2003 07:14:53




>>>From Today's New York Times,

> [snip]

>>Dr. Codd is survived by his wife, of Williams Island; a daughter, Katherine
>>Codd Clark of Palo Alto, Calif.; three sons, Ronald, of Alamo, Calif.,
>>Frank, of Castro Valley, Calif., and David, of Boca Raton, Fla.; and six
>>grandchildren.

>>------ End of Forwarded Message

> Does anyone know if his grandchildren are allowed to live in the same
> place as their parents?

Oooh!  That's clever, Mike.
--
Cheers,
SDM -- a 21st century schizoid man
http://systemstheory.net   internet music project
http://thecleanersystem.com     software for dry cleaners
NP: nothing
 
 
 

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79

Post by Daniel Klei » Sun, 27 Apr 2003 07:02:27






>> > >From Today's New York Times,
>> [snip]
>> > Dr. Codd is survived by his wife, of Williams Island; a daughter, Katherine
>> > Codd Clark of Palo Alto, Calif.; three sons, Ronald, of Alamo, Calif.,
>> > Frank, of Castro Valley, Calif., and David, of Boca Raton, Fla.; and six
>> > grandchildren.

>> > ------ End of Forwarded Message

>> Does anyone know if his grandchildren are allowed to live in the same
>> place as their parents?

>I'm sure he's turning over in his grave as this announcement is
>duplicated and posted all over the place instead of link back to the
>original copy.

Not likely since email is not displayed as rows and columns. ;-)

Dan

 
 
 

Edgar Codd, Key Theorist of Databases, Dies at 79

Post by Lee Bacal » Wed, 30 Apr 2003 21:39:20


In defense of Dr Codd...
While Dr. Codd's first paper disallowed the NNF2 form, his later addendums
did grant that the pick model offered advantages that his strict initial
structure did not allow.

I remember reading some of his early work in an early computer journal back
in 80-81, and thought (before being involved in Pick) that although the idea
had merit, it didn't allow for links which I was instinctively building in
my early (uggh) programming work.

"Him be a hero of sorts mon"
Give t'anks and praise, Jah.
--
Lee Bacall

Binary Star Development Corporation
http://www.binarystar.com
Voice 954/791-8575   Fax 954/584-4567