Portrait of Michael Lowell Roberts

Michael Lowell Roberts

Computer Scientist


Michael Lowell Roberts is a creative computer scientist that has produced breakthroughs within the domain of parallel and distributed programming. His distributed actor-based server platform, used to build the MMORPG Horizons, is the first elastic, distributed compute engine used for a production multiplayer game server, long before the word “cloud” and “shared-nothing” became a staple of the computer science lexicon.

He is the sole inventor of the first parallelized incremental garbage collector, an algorithm that eliminates performance penalties normally associated with garbage collection in multi-threaded environments. His collector is also an excellent example of how actor systems can applied to parallelize algorithms with complex state requirements– an important area of programming that is still poorly understood by the software development industry at large.


DSoAP – Distributed Social Analytics Platform

Established: June 1, 2015

The Distributed Social Analytics Platform (DSoAP) project is focused on the “Huge Data” problem in social policy research caused by the breadth of data involved. Using aggregate social media data to investigate and validate social issues such as employment, health…


Established: October 2, 2014

An Ironclad App lets a user securely transmit her data to a remote machine with the guarantee that every instruction executed on that machine adheres to a formal abstract specification of the app's behavior. This does more than eliminate implementation…

The F* Project

Established: March 25, 2011

F* is a verification-oriented dialect of ML. For more information, please visit https://fstar-lang.org or click on the logo below.

Orleans – Virtual Actors

Established: October 14, 2010

Project "Orleans" invented the Virtual Actor abstraction, which provides a straightforward approach to building distributed interactive applications, without the need to learn complex programming patterns for handling concurrency, fault tolerance, and resource management. Orleans applications scale-up automatically and are meant to be…




Past Projects:
  • Developer, unannounced MMOG title (Microsoft Studios, 2013)
  • Developer, Battlestar Galactica Online (Bigpoint, 2012)
  • Developer & Chinese Development Team Liaison, unannounced MMORPG title (Tencent Boston, 2010-2011)
  • Developer & Lead Programmer, Hellgate: London (Redbana US, 2007-2010)
  • Developer, Gods & Heroes (Perpetual Entertainment, 2006)
  • Architect, Horizons: Empire of Istaria (Artifact Entertainment, 2000-2006)


  • US Patent 8,200,718, Parallelized Incremental Garbage Collector, Michael L. Roberts, issued June 12, 2012.