skip to main content

2015 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

Rick Cattell
Rick Cattell

An independent consultant in database systems for the last eight years, Rick Cattell is best known for his contributions in database and server software, including database scalability, enterprise Java, object/relational mapping, object-oriented databases, and database interfaces.

Cattell worked at Sun Microsystems for more than 20 years as a distinguished engineer and engineering manager, where he initiated the projects that became J2EE, Java DB, Java Blend, and the Simplify database GUI. He was the co-creator of JDBC and other Java APIs, and he helped define the Java Community Process.  He also co-founded the SQL Access Group (a predecessor of ODBC) and the Object Data Management Group (ODMG). He wrote the world’s first book on object/relational and object-oriented database systems. 

Prior to that, Cattell had worked at the Xerox PARC Computer Science Lab, where he contributed to the Cedar programming environment and the Cypress database system. He used Cypress to develop a variety of early graphical user interfaces for email, documents, calendars, personal databases, and data visualization.

Cattell is an ACM Fellow, holds seven U.S. patents, and has written five books. He earned his PhD at Carnegie Mellon University, where he worked on an early hypertext system and applied AI to compiler construction. He received the 1978 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award for his research on formalization and automatic derivation of code generators.