• Andrew Herbert

    Andrew Herbert

    PhD at Cambridge University, 1978:
    A Microprogrammed Operating System Kernal

    Managing Director Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK. PhD at Cambridge University, 1978: A Microprogrammed Operating System Kernel.

    Andrew Herbert's PhD work in 1978 was on a mainframe computer called CAP, built by the Cambridge University Computer Laboratory, the last in a line that pioneer Maurice Wilkes started with the ground-breaking Edsac in the 1940s. Many years later Dr Herbert still values his PhD: "It turned out to be an early statement of what computing on a network would entail, and many lessons I learnt then still apply to the way I think about building systems today."

    Most of his career has focused on aspects of networking and distributed systems, starting with the Advanced Network Architecture initiative.

    The web in the early 1990s and later Java brought even more opportunities, and Andrew Herbert next formed a company called Digitivity, specialising in Java and e-commerce.

    He joined Microsoft Research, Cambridge in 2001 and became managing director in April 2003.

    Andrew Herbert leads a group covering networking, distributed computing and operating systems - reflecting his early research. A second group covers programming theory and principles - and includes Professor Sir Tony Hoare among its researchers. A third group focuses on machine learning and applications in areas ranging from computer vision to information retrieval and games.

    Dr Herbert sees on of his responsibilities now as bringing on the next generations of researchers. "I now have more of a mentoring role, making sure people have the resources they need, encouraging and coaching them," he says. "There comes a point in your career where you want to start giving back."

    Andrew Herbert took a degree in computational science at Leeds University and since then has spent most of his time in Cambridge. After gaining his PhD he was an assistant lecturer in the Computer Laboratory under Maurice Wilkes and Roger Needham. In 1985 he set up a company, Architecture Projects Management (APM), which led projects to develop ANSA, the Advanced Systems Network Architecture. The work was funded by the UK's Alvey Programme of computing research, by more than 20 IT companies, and subsequently by the European Union Esprit research initiative. Later APM later formed Digitivity as a subsidiary focusing on Java security. Citrix Systems bought APM and Digitivity in 1998 and Dr Herbert became responsible for advanced technology development at the US company. In 2001 Roger Needham, his PhD supervisor at Cambridge and now head of Microsoft Research, Cambridge recruited him as an assisitant director. He became managing director in April 2003.

    © UK Computing Research Committee 2009