Artifact Details


Chamberlin, Donald oral history

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Chamberlin discusses his education, career at IBM, and activities since retiring. During the IBM segment, he discusses successive chronological periods: operating system virtual memory and scheduling, the development of relational databases, the Janus and Quill document processing systems, the DB2 Universal Database, and the XQuery XML query language. During the relational database segment, he discusses the pre-relational work (including Charles Bachman, "navigational" access, IDS, IMS, and CODASYL), Ted Codd's relational model (including data independence and the nonprocedural relational calculus and relational algebra query languages), the SQUARE and SEQUEL languages invented by Chamberlin and his collaborator Ray Boyce, the System R project and its Phase Zero, RDS, and RSS subprojects, key collaborators, the joint-study customers, Query By Example, outside activities by Oracle and Ingres, and finally the development of IBM products based on System R technology (SQL/Data System, Query Management Facility, and DB2). During the DB2 Universal Database segment, Chamberlin discusses the success of relational databases in general and SQL in particular, the ANSI and ISO standardization of SQL, the extension of DB2 to object-relational technology, and his work on writing and user-directed, user-centered testing. During the XQuery segment, he describes the process whereby XQuery was conceived, designed, and standardized, and compares and contrasts it with the corresponding phases of SQL development. In the final segment, he describes his hope of communicating to a new generation of young people both the importance and the fun of computing via his activities teaching at UC Santa Cruz and judging in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest. He closes with some reflections on the Computer History Museum.




Chamberlin, Donald, Interviewee
McJones, Paul, Interviewer


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, California


39 p.






Chamberlin, Donald; Chamberlin, Don; IBM; Operating system virtual memory and scheduling; Relational databases, development of; Janus and Quill document processing systems; DB2 Universal Database; XQuery; Bachman, Charles; Navigational access; IDS; IMS; CODASYL; Codd, E.F. (Ted); SQUARE; SEQUEL; Boyce, Ray; System R project; Phase Zero; RDS; RSS; Query By Example; Oracle; Ingres Corporation; SQL/Data System; Query Management Facility; DB2; SQL

Collection Title

Oral history collection

Lot Number