1973was the year that saw the end of US involvement in the Vietnam War, the year that English rock band Deep Purple released Smoke on the Water, and the year the US Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade. People were sporting Farrah Fawcett hairstyles and computer technologies were changing the way businesses operated. The corporate sector was driving development of Database Management Systems (DBMS), using them to maintain information about clients, vendors, employees, inventory, supplies, product orders, and service requests. At the same time, in a lab at the University of California at Berkeley, Eugene Wong and Michael Stonebraker were beginning work on INGRES (INteractive GRaphics REtrieval System), one of the world’s first RDBMSs. Initially, the researchers had raised funds to build a geographic database system for Berkeley’s economics group (1). However, inspired by Edgar Codd’s 1970 seminal work on the relational model (2) and by white papers that IBM had just released regarding SystemR — the first implementation of SQL and an experimental database system built on the relational data model (3, 4), the two researchers decided to use the money to seed their relational database project instead (1).
For the ongoing support of the larger INGRES project, the two received funding from the National Science Foundation and three military agencies: the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Army Research Office, and the Navy Electronic Systems Command (1, 5). The context of the military’s interest in the development of such systems, together with the the confluence of the Cold War and the emergence of computer technologies to manage information, likely influenced the system’s concern with access control, protection, security, ownership, and the database “administrator.”