Edgar F. Codd

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Edgar Frank "Ted" Codd (August 23, 1923 – April 18, 2003) was a British computer scientist who, while working for IBM, invented the relational model for database management, the theoretical basis for relational databases. He made other valuable contributions to computer science, but the relational model, a very influential general theory of data management, remains his most mentioned achievement.



Edgar Frank Codd was born on the Isle of Portland in England. After attending Poole Grammar School, he studied mathematics and chemistry at Exeter College, Oxford, before serving as a pilot in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. In 1948, he moved to New York to work for IBM as a mathematical programmer. In 1953, angered by Senator Joseph McCarthy, Codd moved to Ottawa, Canada. A decade later he returned to the U.S. and received his doctorate in computer science from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Two years later he moved to San Jose, California, to work at IBM's San Jose Research Laboratory, where he continued to work until the 1980s. During the 1990s, his health deteriorated and he ceased work.[1]

Codd received the Turing Award in 1981, and in 1994 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.[2]

Codd died of heart failure at his home in Williams Island, Florida, at the age of 79 on April 18, 2003.[3]


In the 1960s and 1970s he worked out his theories of data arrangement, issuing his paper "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks" in 1970, after an internal IBM paper one year earlier.[4] To his disappointment, IBM proved slow to exploit his suggestions until commercial rivals started implementing them.

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