Computer Society and GBC/ACM

7:00 PM, Thursday, 17 April

MIT Room 54-100

Gold and Fool's Gold: Successes, Failures, and Futures in Computer Systems Research

Butler Lampson, Microsoft Research & CSAIL

People have been inventing new ideas in computer Butler Lampson photosystems for nearly four decades, usually driven by Moore's Law. Many of them have been spectacularly successful: virtual memory, packet networks, objects, relational databases, and graphical user interfaces are a few examples. Other promising ideas have not worked out: capabilities, distributed computing, RISC, and persistent objects. And the fate of some is still in doubt: parallel computing, formal methods, and software reuse. The Web was not invented by computer systems researchers. In the light of all this experience, what will be exciting to work on in the next few years?

Butler Lampson is a Technical Fellow at Microsoft Corporation and an Adjunct Professor at MIT. He has worked on computer architecture, local area networks, raster printers, page description languages, operating systems, remote procedure call, programming languages and their semantics, programming in the large, fault-tolerant computing, transaction processing, computer security, WYSIWYG editors, and tablet computers. He was one of the designers of the SDS 940 time-sharing system, the Alto personal distributed computing system, the Xerox 9700 laser printer, two-phase commit protocols, the Autonet LAN, the SPKI system for network security, the Microsoft Tablet PC software, the Microsoft Palladium high-assurance stack, and several programming languages. He received the ACM Software Systems Award in 1984 for his work on the Alto, the IEEE Computer Pioneer award in 1996 and von Neumann Medal in 2001, the Turing Award in 1992, and the NAE’s Draper Prize in 2004.

This joint meeting of the Boston/Central New England Chapter of the IEEE Computer Society and GBC/ACM will be held at MIT Room 54-100.  MIT building 54 is the tall building with a radome on top near the center of the MIT campus. You can see it on a map at < level4&map.x=298&map.y=191>

Room 100 is up a flight of stairs or take the elevator.

For more information contact Peter Mager (

Updated: March 31, 2008.