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  • Ian Foster

    Ian Foster

    PhD at Imperial College, 1988:
    High Performance Parallel Logic Programming Languages

    Professor of Computing Science, University of Chicago, USA and Head of the Distributed Systems Laboratory Argonne National Laboratory, USA. PhD at Imperial College London, 1988: High Performance Parallel Logic Programming Languages.

    He has been called one of the fathers of grid computing, an approach to sharing IT resources which started in the research community and is now hitting the commercial market with backing from the likes of industry leader IBM.

    His leadership in this field has its roots in his PhD work at Imperial College, London.

    "I focused on the technology for building concurrent systems and what was needed to make them run efficiently on parallel computers," he says. "That later naturally led into grid computing, so in effect ever since leaving Imperial College I've continued on the work I started there."

    He started at Imperial College after work at a software company. "I felt the PhD would lead to more interesting things - and that certainly turned out to be the case," he says.

    Ian Foster gained a degree in computer science at Canterbury University, Christchurch, in his native New Zealand. He then travelled to Europe and spent a year at a software company in London before taking a research post at Imperial College. While working on his PhD on parallel programming he met people from the Argonne National Laboratory, also a centre of expertise in this field, and joined the laboratory after leaving Imperial College. He met his partner in the grid computing work, Carl Kesselman, at a conference he attended while studying at Imperial College. They wrote the influential book, The Grid: Blueprint for a New Computing Infrastructure, in 1998, and developed the Globus grid computing software. He was awarded the BCS Lovelace Medal in May 2003.

    © UK Computing Research Committee 2009