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Edgar F. Codd

Edgar F. "Ted" Codd (August 23, 1923 - April 18, 2003) was a British computer scientist who made seminal contributions to the theory of relational databases. While working for IBM, he created the relational model for database management. He made other valuable contributions to Informatics, but the relational model, a very influential general theory of data management, remains his most memorable achievement.

Edgar F. Codd was born at Portland, Dorset, in England. He studied mathematics and chemistry at Oxford University. He served as a pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War II. 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. A decade later he returned to the USA 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 research center there.

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. To his disappointment, IBM proved slow to exploit his suggestions until commercial rivals started implementing them. For example, Larry Ellison built the Oracle database based on Codd's ideas.

Codd continued to develop and extend his relational model, sometimes in collaboration with Chris Date. Codd also contributed knowledge in the area of cellular automata.

One of the normalized forms in Database normalization - the Boyce-Codd Normal Form, is named after Codd.

Codd also coined the term OLAP and wrote the twelve laws of online analytical processing.

Codd received a Turing Award in 1981.

Edgar F. Codd died of heart failure at his home in Williams Island, Florida at age 79 on Friday April 18, 2003.