Charles W. Bachman

2015 Fellow

For his early work on developing database management systems.

"I have said all through my career I have been happy to have the jobs I have had, because I’ve had a lot of freedom to do what I wanted to do, and had the secondary advantage of what I wanted to do seemed to be useful."

— Charles W. Bachman

In a career spanning more than 50 years, Charles W. "Charlie" Bachman has been an analyst, developer, architect, standards leader, and entrepreneur in computer software. He is best known for his invention of the first random access database management system, the Integrated Data Store (IDS). He was also the driving force in creating the first packaged enterprise resource planning solution, MIACS, and for establishing online transaction processing systems for large enterprises.

Bachman was born in Manhattan, Kansas, December 11, 1924. He attended Michigan State College (now MSU) and graduated in 1948 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. Two years later, he graduated with a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the Towne School, University of Pennsylvania. At the same time, Bachman attended the Wharton School of Business.

Bachman's IDS featured a database language that smoothly integrated with existing programming languages; used virtual memory storage to transcend physical storage limitations; employed network-oriented data structures that directly mirrored conceptual business models; and featured an integrated transaction-oriented monitor. Within the Conference on Data Systems Languages committee (CODASYL), Bachman's drive to standardize IDS not only served his employer at the time, but also helped a dozen mainframe computer companies to build their system software portfolios and establish vibrant transaction processing businesses of their own. Bachman also conceived of and introduced data structure diagrams in 1963 - known as "Bachman diagrams" - to provide a visual map of these novel data structures and a clear view of how to navigate them.

Bachman was granted the Association for Computing Machinery's prestigious A. M. Turing Award in 1973 for his outstanding contributions to database technology and was elected a Distinguished Fellow by the British Computer Society in 1977.

From 1978-82, Bachman chaired the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Standards Organization (ISO) committees that standardized the OSI seven-layer reference model, a conceptual alternative to then current Internet protocols.

In 1983 Bachman founded Bachman Information Systems, which built computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools that automated the design and publication of Bachman diagrams and generated database schemas through forward and reverse engineering.

In 2014 Bachman was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Barack Obama. He passed away on July 13, 2017.


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