[SIGCIS-Members] Tom Haigh on Bachman and IDS

McMillan, William W william.mcmillan at cuaa.edu
Thu Jun 30 14:15:08 PDT 2016

Hello, historians, elders, geeks, and lurkers.

FYI, Tom Haigh discusses Charles Bachman and his development of the Integrated Data Store in Historical Reflections in the new issue of Communications of the ACM.  Well worth reading, and suitable, I think, for assigned reading in even a lower-level database class or a related humanities class.

I'm no DB wiz, but I've never had much affection for the relational DB model or the data world it imposes on us.  I realize that efficiency trumps affection in data processing, but, coming way back from a psych and AI perspective, I am put off by the jettisoning of explicit semantic relations in data models.  My take is that Bachman was more designing in the spirit of the latter.  The relational model came thundering down the track and pushed semantic modeling off into the obscure byways.

Nowadays, the NoSQL movement is growing like topsy as the likes of Amazon and Google bump into limitations imposed by balky, clunky, industrial-grade relational models.

Maybe we're circling back in some sense to the elegantly-crafted database designs of Bachman, like some modern timepieces are eschewing boring blinking digits and reprising the art of past ages (search "Shinola watches Detroit" [1]).

To the Americans on the list, Happy Independence Day!  To the Brits, (Happy | Condolences on) Brexit Day!

- Bill

[1] Shameless promotion of my beloved Detroit.

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