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Communications of the ACM


Forging Relationships

2014 ACM A.M. Turing Award Recipient Michael Stonebraker

Credit: Jared Leeds Photography

In the early 1970s, a young assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, decided to build a relational database. The concept of such a database had been proposed in 1970 by Edgar Codd of IBM, who outlined the advantages it would have over the dominant database model at the time, IBM's hierarchical Information Management System.

Many computer science researchers had followed Codd's work with papers of their own, but none had gone beyond proof-of-concept prototypes. The Berkeley professor, Michael Stonebraker, wanted to build something that could actually work.


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