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Computers were originally invented and used to ease and automate the task of computation. As the word “computer” implies, these early machines were used for calculations, such as tabulating census data. As a side effect, the technology needed for storing data was also invented to provide the computational engine with input data and allow it to output results. This means of permanently storing data included punched cards, tape, and disks. Throughout the 1950s and most of the 1960s, the management of stored data was done as required; file systems stored data according to user-defined formats and kept a table of contents. Users shared data by equally hoc means, generally by taking turns accessing the same device. Over the years, database technology has evolved through at least three generations to a diverse and sophisticated set of data management tools, as discussed in this paper. This paper has three major sections. Presented first is an introduction to database technology. Presented next is a description of the evolution of database technology from early computing to the sophisticated systems of today. The third section presents a view of both the driving forces that will influence the database technology of the future and also the resulting new directions for the future.
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