Raymond F. Boyce

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Raymond 'Ray' Boyce
Born 1947 (1947)
Died 1974 (aged 26–27)
Fields Computer Science
Institutions IBM
Known for

Raymond 'Ray' Boyce (1947-1974) was an American computer scientist who was known for his research in relational databases. He is most known for his work co-developing the SQL database language and Boyce-Codd normal form.


Boyce grew up in New York, and went to college at Providence College, from which he graduated in 1968. He earned his PhD in computer science at Purdue in 1972. His wife Sanndy, whom he met in college, was a nurse. After leaving Purdue he worked on database projects for IBM in Yorktown Heights, New York. In the short period that he had, which was not quite two years long, he co-developed Boyce–Codd normal form. Together with Donald D. Chamberlin he co-developed Structured Query Language (SQL) while managing the Relation Database development group for IBM in San Jose, California. He died in 1974 as a result of an aneurysm, leaving behind his wife of almost five years, Sanndy, and his daughter Kristin, who was just ten months old.


SQL was initially co-developed at IBM by Boyce alongside Donald D. Chamberlin in the early 1970s. Initially called SEQUEL (Structured English Query Language) and based on their original language called SQUARE (Specifying Queries As Relational Expressions). SEQUEL was designed to manipulate and retrieve data in relational databases. By 1974, Chamberlin and Boyce published “SEQUEL: A Structured English Query Language” which detailed their refinements to SQUARE and introduced us to the data retrieval aspects of SEQUEL.[1] It was one of the first languages to use Edgar F. Codd's relational model. SEQUEL was later renamed to SQL by dropping the vowels, because SEQUEL was a trade mark registered by the Hawker Siddeley aircraft company.[1] Today, SQL has been generally established as the standard relational database language.

Boyce-Codd normal form[edit]

Boyce–Codd normal form (or BCNF) was developed in 1974 by Boyce and Edgar F. Codd. It is a type of normal form that is used in database normalization. The goal of relational database design is to generate a set of database schemas that store information without unnecessary redundancy. Boyce-Codd accomplishes this and allows users to retrieve information easily. Using BCNF, databases will have all redundancy removed based on functional dependencies. It is a slightly stronger version of the third normal form.


  1. ^ a b Chris Collins (20 May 2007). "History of SQL". blog. 

Further reading[edit]