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‘Nobel Prize in Computing’ Goes to Distributed Computing Wrangler Leslie Lamport

Network World (03/18/14) Bob Brown 

Microsoft Research principal Leslie Lamport will receive the 2013 ACM A.M. Turing Award, widely considered the Nobel Prize in computing, for his breakthrough work in “imposing clear, well-defined coherence on the seemingly chaotic behavior of distributed computing systems, in which several autonomous computers communicate with each other by passing messages,” according to ACM. Lamport’s algorithms, models, and verification systems have given distributed computer systems major roles throughout the data center, security, and cloud computing environments. “By finding useful ways to write specifications and prove correctness of realistic algorithms, assuring a strong foundation for complex computing operations, [Lamport] helped to move verification from an academic discipline to a practical tool,” says ACM president Vint Cerf. Lamport is being honored for milestones that include the concept of Byzantine failure, and temporal logic language. Lamport worked at Digital Equipment Corp. and SRI International before joining Microsoft in 2001. His 1978 paper, “Time, Clocks, and the Ordering of Events in a Distributed System,” is one of the most highly cited papers in computer science.


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