Charles W. Bachman, a software engineer whose creation of the first database management system helped popularize computers in the corporate world and earned him the highest honor in computer science, died July 13 at his home in Lexington, Massachusetts. He was 92. His daughter Chandini Bachman confirmed his death.
Mr. Bachman was a pioneer in the field of database management software. His work would later be eclipsed by that of other innovators, and software tools have changed drastically over the years. But behind every product search on Amazon, movie recommendation on Netflix or bid on eBay, there is a flood of digital communications mediated by database management software, which owes an intellectual debt to Mr. Bachman. His Integrated Data Store software, first demonstrated in 1963, made it possible to share data across different applications. That capability had been talked about before, but Mr. Bachman was the first to carry it out.
In 1973, Mr. Bachman received the Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery for his contributions to database technology. The award is often called as the Nobel Prize for computer science. In 2014, Mr. Bachman visited the White House to receive a National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama.
Bachman received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan State in 1948 and a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania two years later. Bachman's wife of 63 years and sometime business partner, the former Constance Hadley, died in 2012. He is survived by four children: Chandini Bachman of Bethesda, Maryland, Jonathan Bachman of Lexington, Massachusetts, Sara Bachman Ducey of Bethesda, and Thomas Bachman of Phoenix; a brother; five grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.