Butler W. Lampson

Microsoft Corporation

Primary Section: 34, Computer and Information Sciences
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2005)


Butler Lampson is a Technical Fellow at Microsoft Corporation and an Adjunct Professor of EECS at MIT. He was at the Computer Science Laboratory at Xerox PARC and at Digital’s Systems Research Center. 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, WHSIWYG 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 SDSI/SPKI system for network security, the Microsoft Tablet PC software and Palladium high-assurance stack, and several programming languages. He received an AB from Harvard University, a PhD in EECS from the University of California at Berkeley, and honorary ScD’s from ETH, Zurich and the University of Bologna. He holds patents on networks, security, raster printing, and transaction processing. He is a member of the NAS and NAE. and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society. He received the ACM Turing Award in 1992 and the NAE’s Draper Prize in 2004.

Research Interests

I am working on writing specifications for programs, and on computer security and privacy, in particular on how to give people personal control of digital data about them. I am also trying to understand how to keep devices in the Internet of Things from killing people.

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