I am a Partner Researcher and former co-manager of the Research in Software Engineering (RiSE) group in Microsoft Research, Redmond WA working on programming languages and software engineering. Research interests include usability, security, and reliability, including reliability of artificial intelligence. More information here: vita.
From 1990-1998 I was an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the Univ. of Colorado. I have a BS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1982) and an MS (1984) and PhD (1989) from the University of California at Berkeley.
I have served as the Program Chair (1999) and General Chair (2010) of PLDI, served on the Executive Committee of SIGPLAN, and served as a member of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Council between 2014 and 2020. I co-founded the CRA-Industry committee in 2021 and am currently co-chair. In 2021 I received the SIGPLAN Distinguished Service Award.
Episode 6, January 3, 2018 - In an era of AI breakthroughs and other exciting advances in computer science, Dr. Ben Zorn would like to remind us that behind every great technical revolution is… a programming language. As a Principal Researcher and the Co-director of RiSE – or Research in Software Engineering – group at Microsoft Research, Dr. Zorn has dedicated his life to making sure the software that now touches nearly everything in our lives is easy, accurate, reliable and secure. Today, Dr. Zorn tells us some great stories about bugs and whales, warns us against the dumb side of “smart” objects, shares about his group’s attempt to scale the Everest of software security, and makes a great case that the most important programming language in the world today is… the spreadsheet.
Spreadsheets allow users to combine data, computation, and presentation in compelling ways that allow analysis, exploration, insight, and communication. By applying machine learning and AI based on deep neural networks to spreadsheets, and combining that signal with traditional program analysis…
[Video of my keynote presentation at PLDI 2016.] What do cheating on fuel economy, the London Whale, and building a better mosquito trap have in common? We are constantly bombarded with technical innovations that disrupt business models, social structures, labor markets, etc. Widely visible technical advances such as Internet of Things, Big Data, and Deep Learning are driving markets and creating a huge demand for computer science education. What role, if any, does programming language research have in an age of technical disruptions? In my talk, I argue that historically, as well as today, programming languages are central to major technical disruptions and that language innovation is often driven by technical innovation in other areas. To have the most impact, language researchers have a great opportunity to look beyond problems in their own research area to embrace and understand the impact that their ideas can have on critical societal problems. Increasingly, people are assuming that software will be an essential part of solutions to societal problems. At the same time we know that building an infrastructure on software creates new challenges that threaten to reduce or eliminate the benefits altogether. To make the discussion concrete, I consider three problem domains: global health, financial market stability, and cybersecurity. In each case, I argue that programming language research can and should have a lot of impact. My challenge to the audience is to embrace these problems enthusiastically and bring the great depth of insight and innovation that the field has already created to the broadest audience possible. Since I will be discussing topics that I have far too limited knowledge of, consider this a great opportunity to hear me say outrageous things that are almost certainly not true but at the same time hopefully provocative and entertaining.