Charles Bachman ’48, ‘15

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July 17, 2017

Renowned computer scientist Charles Bachman (’48, ’15) dies at 92 

National media announced the death of Spartan alumnus and renowned computer scientist Charles Bachman (’48 mechanical engineering, 2015 MSU Honorary Doctor of Engineering) following his death on July 13, 2017, in Lexington, Mass. He was 92.President Barak Obama presented Charles Bachman ('48, '15) with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation during a festive ceremony at the White House in 2014. Photo courtesy of the Washington Post.

Bachman is considered by many to be one of Michigan State University’s most prominent alumni. He remained at the forefront of computer science and information systems development for 65 years. 

In his long career he developed the first generic database management system and guided the introduction of large disk storage technology into modern business systems. 

The New York Times said he was instrumental in laying a technical foundation for modern digital commerce. 

The Washington Post called him the engineer who devised a better way to manage data systems, allowing computers to access and alter individual records much faster – a process known as random access. It was what General Electric and Mr. Bachman likened to a system of “one million pigeon holes.” 

His many awards included the prestigious Turing Award. President Barak Obama presented him with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation during a ceremony at the White House in 2014. 

Read more on his interesting life: 

New York Times 

Washington Post 

MSU presents honorary degree in 2015

President Lou Anna K. Simon and Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies Stephen Hsu presented an honorary doctor of engineering degree to renowned computer scientist Charles Bachman ('48) during fall commencement in 2015.