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Professor Xu Awarded 2018 AITO Junior Dahl-Nygaard Prize

Associate Professor of Computer Science Harry Xu has received the AITO Junior Dahl-Nygaard Prize for 2018. Prizes will be awarded during the 2018 European Conference for Object-Oriented Programming (ECOOP) this July in Amsterdam. Xu received the award because “he has made significant contributions to different aspects of object-orientation due to a unique combination of technical strength and ambition to deliver effective object-oriented programming technologies for big data systems; the sheer amount of his practically-useful research is impressive,” according to the AITO website. 

Xu’s research ranges from software engineering, through programming languages and compilers, to runtime/operating/distributed systems and computer architecture. In particular, he is interested in developing cross-layer techniques that bridge the PL and systems communities. His recent work centers around two symmetric axes: (1) how to leverage PL techniques to solve big data problems, and, conversely, (2) how to solve PL problems with systems and architectural support.

Xu worked at Microsoft Research as a visiting researcher in 2017, where he created and led the development of a project that aims to build an optimizing compiler for multi-lingual data analytical pipelines, in particular, Microsoft’s Scope/Cosmos. He also worked at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center as a co-op/intern from 2008 to 2011, where he led the development of a series of runtime bloat detection tools.

AITO (Association Internationale pour les Technologies Objets) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of object technology. The AITO Dahl-Nygaard Prizes are named for Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard, two Turning Award winners in the area of programming and simulation. In remembrance of their scholarship and enthusiastic encouragement of young researchers, in 2004 AITO established a prize to be awarded annually to a senior researcher with outstanding career contributions and a younger researcher who has demonstrated great potential for following in the footsteps of these two pioneers. It is considered as the highest honor in the area of object-oriented programming languages. Past awardees include eminent researchers such as Bjarne Stroustrup (the father of C++), the Gang of Four (the inventors of design patterns), Luca Cardelli (who developed the notion of object), and David Ungar (the inventor of SELF, which directly inspired JavaScript).