Enter the Dragon:A conversation with 2020 ACM Turing Award winner
Alfred V. Aho
Ph.D., Princeton '67
Lawrence Gussman Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Columbia University
Ph.D. Princeton '79
Percy K. and Vida L. W. Hudson Professor of Computer science, Columbia University
In the last half-century, computers have been incorporated into every aspect of our lives implementing instructions and algorithms written in high-level languages that are not dissimilar to the human ones. But machines can only understand machine language, essentially a series of zeros and ones. The critical link is the translator between the two, called the compiler.
Compilers are now an indispensable part of any technology development, and that is in a major part due to the groundbreaking work of Alfred V. Aho and Jeffrey D. Ullman during their tenure at Bell Labs in the 70s. For their work on algorithms, databases, formal languages, and the seminal publications for the associated compilers commonly known as the Dragon book trilogy, they have received the 2020 ACM Turing Award, equivalent to the Nobel prize in Computer science.
Prof. Aho, in a wide-ranging conversation with his former Bell Labs colleague Prof. Mihalis Yannakakis, will talk about milestones of his journey to become a transformative guru in Computer languages and compilers. He will explain the fundamentals of the research that lead to the ACM Turning award, and will offer his views on the current and future state of programming and the leading research at Columbia.
The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, Columbia University
Alfred V. Aho is the Lawrence Gussman Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Columbia University. He served as Chair of the Department of Computer Science from 1995 to 1997, and again in the spring of 2003. Professor Aho has a B.A.Sc in Engineering Physics from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science from Princeton University.
Professor Aho won the Great Teacher Award for 2003 from the Society of Columbia Graduates. In 2014 he was again recognized for teaching excellence by winning the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award from the Columbia Engineering Alumni Association.