Butler Lampson

Butler Lampson

2006 Fellow

For fundamental contributions to computer science, including networked personal workstations, operating systems, computer security and document publishing.

If our theories about the utility of cheap, powerful personal computers are correct, we should be able to demonstrate them convincingly on Alto. Butler Lampson


Xerox Alto, 1977
Xerox Alto, 1977

Butler Lampson was born in Washington, DC, in 1943. He holds an A.B. degree in physics from Harvard (1964) and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from UC Berkeley (1967).

Lampson's long career covers a remarkable range of topics, including computer architecture, local area networks, raster printers, page description languages, operating systems, programming languages and their semantics, fault-tolerant computing, transaction processing, computer security, and WYSIWIG editors. He is also widely admired as a technical leader.

While at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), he made major contributions to the Alto personal workstation, an encryption system for Ethernet, the Bravo text editor, the Interpress page description language, and several of groundbreaking computer architectures and systems including the SDS 940 timesharing system and the Xerox PARC "Dorado" computer.

Lampson has taught at UC Berkeley and was a major contributor at the Computer Science Laboratory at Xerox PARC and Digital Equipment Corporation's Systems Research Center.

He holds, individually or with others, 23 patents relating to networks, security, raster printing, and transaction processing.

He has received many honors, including the ACM's Software Systems Award for his work on the Alto and the IEEE Computer Pioneer Award. He was awarded the von Neumann Medal and, in 1992, the ACM Turing Award.