Past Meetup

Tom Crayford on 'An History and Evaluation of System R'

This Meetup is past

50 people went

Location image of event venue


Remember to sign up on Skills Matter too (, so they know you're coming!

The speaker:

Tom Crayford is a database wrangler.

The paper:

An History and Evaluation of System R (

Chamberlin, Astrahan, Blagsen, Gray, King, Lindsay, Lorie, Mehl, Price, Putzolo, Selinger, Schkolnick, Slutz, Traiger, Wade, Yost

Relational Database technology is one of the largest successes of computology over the past 46 years. Most useful non-blob data written to disk is probably in an RDBMS somewhere. But in 1970, all relational meant was "somebody had written a weird paper". System R was the research project that took that paper and made it of huge practical importance. On the way, the team discovered dozens of new research areas, techniques for database implementation, and ultimately made relational databases into the success they are today. Thousands of papers, and billions of dollars of investment are based off this one project, done by a team of 15 people. Many of the techniques invented are now taken for granted, just "normal" for line-of-business programmers.

This is a survey, of a survey paper, of a large and long running research project. System R produced dozens of interesting papers, and we'll touch on the important topics, and reflect a bit on where we stand, 35 years after this paper was published.