Feeds

Roger Needham, leading computer academic

Headed up Microsoft Research in Cambridge

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Obituary Sadly, we record the death of Roger Needham, computer pioneer...

There isn't much more to say, except that the man who was the reason Microsoft set up its research centre in Cambridge, England, has had to lay down his life's work. Cancer ended a legend.

He once told me that it was his idea that Microsoft stopped spending money on patenting its research ideas, and instead, to make the results available to other researchers. I wish I'd known him long enough to have some other stories to pass on myself; he left a long legacy of people who attributed their inspiration to having worked with him.

Here's what his CV at Microsoft Research says:

Roger M Needham, born 1935, was in computing at Cambridge since 1956. His 1961 PhD thesis was on the application of digital computers to problems of classification and grouping. In 1962 he joined the Computer Laboratory, then called the Mathematical Laboratory, and has been on the faculty since 1963. He took a leading role in Cambridge projects in operating systems, time sharing systems, memory protection, local area networks, and distributed systems over the next twenty years.

Roger worked at intervals on a variety of topics in security, (his main research interest while with Microsoft) being particularly known for work with Schroeder on authentication protocols (1978) and with Burrows and Abadi on formalism for reasoning about them (1989).

Roger graduated from the University of Cambridge in Mathematics and Philosophy in 1956, and then took the Diploma in Numerical Analysis and Automatic Computing in 1957. He had been in computing at Cambridge ever since. He succeeded Maurice Wilkes as Head of the Computer Laboratory from 1980 to 1995, was promoted Professor in 1981, elected to the Royal Society in 1985 and the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1993. He was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor in 1996.

I only met him a couple of times, both times when Microsoft was doing corporate hospitality to publicise the work it was doing in the Cambridge research facility. He was as knowledgeable as any rumour could have suggested; and as tolerant of an ignorant journalist as any academic could ever be. And I shall never get to know him, now.

Guy Kewney is the editor/publisher of Newswireless.Net

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready
Lightweight, container-happy Linux gets first Stable release
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.