Peter P. Chen

Award Recipient
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Dr. Peter Chen at Louisiana State University holds the position of M. J. Foster Distinguished Chair Professor of Computer Science since 1983. Dr. Chen is the originator of the Entity-Relationship Model (ER Model), which serves as the foundation of many systems analysis and design methodologies, computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools, and repository systems including IBM’s Repository Manager/MVS and DEC’s CDD/Plus.

Dr. Chen’s original paper on the Entity-Relationship model (ER model) is one of the most cited papers in the computer software field. Recently, Dr. Chen was honored by the selection of his original ER model paper as one of the 38 most influential papers in Computer Science according to a survey of 1,000 computer science college professors (Table of Contents, Great Papers in Computer Science, edited by P. Laplante, West Publishing, 1996). Based on one particular citation database, Chen’s paper is the 35th most cited article in Computer Science.

The ER model was adopted as the meta model for the ANSI Standard in Information Resource Directory System (IRDS), and the ER approach has been ranked as the top methodology for database design and one of the top methodologies in systems development by several surveys of FORTUNE 500 companies.

Dr. Chen’s work is a cornerstone of software engineering, in particular Computer-Aided Software Engineering (CASE). In the late 80’s and early 90’s, IBM’s Application Development Cycle (AD/Cycle) framework and DB2 repository (RM/MVS) were based on the ER model. Other vendors’ repository systems such as Digital’s CDD+ were also based on the ER model.

Dr. Chen has made significant impact on the CASE industry by his research work and by his lecturing around the world on structured system development methodologies. Most of the major CASE tools including Computer Associates’ ERWIN, Oracle’s Designer/2000, and Sybase’s PowerDesigner (and even a general drawing tool like Microsoft’s VISIO) are influenced by the ER model.

The ER model also serves as the foundation of some of the recent work on Object-Oriented analysis and design methodologies and Semantic Web. The UML modeling language has its roots in the ER model.

The hypertext concept, which makes the World Wide Web extremely popular, is very similar to the main concept in the ER model. Dr. Chen is currently investigating this linkage as an invited expert of several XML working groups of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Dr. Chen’s work is cited heavily in a book published in 1993 for general public called Software Challenges published by Time-Life Books as a part of the series on “Understanding Computers.”  Dr. Chen is also the Editor-in-Chief of Data & Knowledge Engineering, the Associate Editor for the Journal of Intelligent Robotic Systems, and other journals. In the past, he was the Associate Editor for Computer, Information Sciences, and other journals.

He is a member of the Airlie Software Council, which consists of software visionaries/gurus and very-high-level software organization executives, organized by U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

Dr. Chen is a Fellow of the IEEE, the ACM, and the AAAS. He has been listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World for more than ten years. He is the recipient of awards in several fields of Information Technology (IT): from data management to information management, software engineering, and general information technology:

  • The Data Resource Management Technology Award from the Data Administration Management Association (NYC) in 1990.
  • The Achievement Award in Information Management in 2000 from DAMA International, an international professional organization of data management professionals, managers, and Chief Information Officers (CIO’s).
  • Inductee, the Data Management Hall of Fame in 2000.
  • The Stevens Award in Software Method Innovation in 2001.
  • Dr. Chen is scheduled to receive the ACM/AAAI Allen Newell Award at the ACM Award Banquet in San Diego, June 2003.

He was recognized as a “software pioneer” in the “Software Pioneers” Conference, Bonn, Germany,27–28 June 2001, together with a group of very distinguished scientists including winners of President’s Medals of Technology, ACM Turing Awards, or IEEE distinguished awards such as Harry Goode Awards.

The Entity-Relationship model is described in most textbooks on databases, software engineering, and information systems analysis. It is included as a fundamental topic in the ACM/IEEE recommended curriculum on computer science and information systems. Today, it is very likely to find at least one chapter on the ER model when a person randomly picks up a college textbook on information system design or databases. It is also very likely to walk into a college classroom to attend a class on information management and see that the ER modeling is being taught there. For example, at LSU, the ER model is being taught in 3 different colleges: the Computer Science department in College of Basic Sciences, the Information Systems and Decision Sciences Department in College of Business, and the Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing Systems Department in the College of Engineering. In other universities, the ER model is also taught in a variety of departments and colleges. For example, at Berkeley, the ER model is being taught in 2 or 3 courses at the School of Information Management. As another example, the ER model is being taught in the Computational-Biology/bioinformatics programs at University of Pennsylvania, Drexel, University of Virginia, and Hong Kong University.

At MIT, UCLA, and Harvard, Dr. Chen taught various courses in Information Systems and Computer Science. At LSU, he has taught courses in database management systems, software engineering, database design, and Object-Oriented programming. Since 1994, Dr. Chen has been doing research and teaching on Internet/Web, Java, XML, Data Warehousing, E-commerce (B2B and B2C), and Internet Security.


2003 Harry H. Goode Memorial Award
“For his significant and pioneering contributions to data and software engineering, particularly the invention of the Entity-Relationship (ER) model and for leadership in Computer-Aided Software Engineering (CASE) movement.”
Learn more about the Harry H. Goode Memorial Award