University of Rochester

Scientist Named Fellow of Association for Computing Machinery

January 24, 2007

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has honored Michael L. Scott, professor of computer science at the University of Rochester, for his contributions to system software for parallel and distributed computing, naming him a Fellow for 2006. Scott will be formally recognized at the ACM annual awards banquet on June 9, in San Diego, Calif.

"ACM Fellow status is an award given to an individual who has made truly outstanding contributions to the computing community," says Mitsunori Ogihara, chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Rochester. "Professor Scott's work on methods for concurrently running processors to share the same data has been extremely influential."

Fifteen years ago, Scott worked with Rochester alumnus John Mellor-Crummey to devise a new mechanism for mutual exclusion, a form of synchronization in which processors take turns at some critical task. Their MCS lock, named after their initials, is widely used in both commercial and research systems.

With former students Maged Michael and Bill Scherer, Scott also has developed non-blocking data structures, which allow processors to share information safely without the need for locks. Four of their algorithms are now a built-in part of the Java programming language. In other influential work, Scott has developed operating systems and file systems for parallel-processing machines, and mechanisms to provide the appearance of shared memory on clusters of physically separate machines.

Most recently, Scott's group has emerged as a leader in the development of transactional memory, which aims to simplify the creation of parallel programs. Such programs are essential both for servers and for personal computers, which are now routinely equipped with multicore (parallel) processors.

"The breadth and depth of the contributions these computing scientists and professionals have made to our world and the way we live are remarkable," said the association's president Stuart Feldman of this year's Fellows. "Their work reflects outstanding displays of creativity and commitment to the computing community, which continues to drive innovation in industries and enterprises across the globe."

The ACM Fellows Program was established in 1993 to recognize and honor outstanding ACM members for their achievements in computer science and information. The Fellows serve as distinguished colleagues to whom the association and its members look for guidance and leadership as the world of information technology evolves.