On November 20, 2014 at a White House ceremony, President Obama honored computer technology pioneer and data architect Charles W. Bachman with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for fundamental inventions in database management, transaction processing, and software engineering for his work designing the first computer database. The ceremony will be followed by a gala celebrating the achievements and contributions to society by 18 pioneers in science and technology.
Inventing the First Computer Database
“The Integrated Data Store (IDS) was designed by Charles W. (Charlie) Bachman, who later won the ACM’s Turing Award for that accomplishment. He was the first Turing Award winner without a Ph.D, the first with a background in engineering rather than science, and the first to spend his entire career in industry rather than academia.”
In gratitude for the recognition, Charles W. (Charlie) Bachman said, “As a boy growing up in Michigan making soap box derby racers, I knew that all I wanted to do when I grew up was to build things. I wanted to be an engineer. And I wanted to make the world a better place. An honor like this is something I never expected, so I’m deeply grateful to the President, Senator Edward J. Markey and everyone at the Department of Commerce who voted for the recognition. It is important for me to credit my late wife, Connie, who was my partner in creativity, in business and in life. There are a lot of friends, family and colleagues who helped along the way, of course. I’d really like to thank them all, and especially those at General Electric who gave me the creative opportunities to invent. It is amazing how much faith GE had in our team with no guarantee of a useful result. I hope that young people just starting out can look at an honor like this and see all of the new creative opportunities that lay before them today, and the differences they can make for their generation and for future generations.”