Renowned Computer Scientist at the Head of the IC School

James Larus is the new Dean at EPFL’s School of Computer and Communications Science (IC). He is a specialist in programming languages and in the construction of robust software systems. He will be taking office in October 2013 after having worked at Microsoft during sixteen years.

James Larus, programming language’s specialist and computing systems architect, has been appointed as Dean of the School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC) at EPFL. He will take office in October 2013, succeeding Martin Vetterli, who started heading the National Research Fund (FNS) at the beginning of the year, and Ruediger Urbanke, acting as interim Dean.

In this way, the School has gained the talents of a renowned scientist with a comprehensive experience in both academic and industrial domains. Born in the United States, James Larus has earned a worldwide reputation for developing tools used in the construction of robust software. His research started at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and continued at Microsoft, where he spent sixteen years. The international computer science research community, including the ACM and the IEEE, has awarded him numerous accolades and honors. In 2006, he received the ACM Fellow award, the most prestigious honor granted by the Association for Computing. He also published 110 papers, 9 of which were awarded best or most influential paper awards.

"In the United States, EPFL’s School of Computer and Communication Sciences is considered as one of the best, reveals James Larus. During my several visits, I have come to realize the quality of its people and its research. That is why my decision to accept the position was rather easy to take."

Among the subjects he’s passionate about, the new Dean lists machine learning, big data management, security issues, system strength and reliability and respect for private data. To end with, he considers the development of massive online courses (MOOCS) and of new learning aid technologies as some of the most interesting challenges in the field.

A significant contribution

His major contributions include technology transfer on software development tools for high level companies, for instance: Microsoft's Static Driver Verifier and FX/Cop. He is a co-author of a book on transactional memory and has helped the software community by creating programming languages aimed at parallel computing. He is also one of the main architects of Singularity OS research project, a new safe and resilient software architecture, as well as Orleans, a software framework for Microsoft Research on Cloud Computing.

Born in New York on 15 September 1958, the researcher studied applied mathematics at Harvard. Afterwards, he studied Computer Science at the University of California - Berkeley in the 1980s. Since 1989, he teaches computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He joined Microsoft Research in 1997. In 1998, he was appointed as the head of a research group and in 2008 he was promoted to Director of the eXtreme Computing Group.