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The AITO Dahl-Nygaard Prize Winners for 2008

AITO is very proud to announce the Dahl-Nygaard Prizes for 2008. The Senior Prize will be given to Akinori Yonezawa, University of Tokyo, for his overall contribution to both theory and practice of concurrent object-oriented languages. The Junior Prize will be given to Wolfgang De Meuter, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, for his recent contribution to object-oriented programming of ambient systems.

Akinori Yonezawa systematically developed theories and practical implementations for concurrent object-oriented languages, from the early incarnation of Actors in the late 70’s to the ABCL language series in the early 90’s, eventually leading to the seminal book "Object-Oriented Concurrent Programming", published with Mario Tokoro in 1987. His contributions to concurrent object-oriented languages range from theoretical foundations and massively parallel and efficient implementations of programs, to incorporating computational reflection in concurrent language designs – long before reflection was considered mainstream in object-oriented languages. In his work on theoretical foundations, he tackled the problem of formalizing the notion of concurrent objects in various ways, defining succinct operational semantics for concurrent objects using higher-order calculi and other forms of logical systems, such as linear logic, to provide the much needed rigor to the discipline of concurrent object programming. On the implementation side, in the early 90’s he lead the team that implemented several variants of ABCL on supercomputers such as the Fujitsu AP1000 that embodied 512 nodes which was by far one of the largest and fastest parallel supercomputers in those days. He was also the first person to suggest a model of computational reflection for concurrent objects, and continuously extended the work so that reflective capabilities became both functionally powerful and efficiently implementable in today’s object oriented programming languages and systems. With JavaGo, he has continued to contribute in the area of object mobility and concurrency.

Wolfgang De Meuter has shown promising potential as a young researcher by proposing innovative ideas and by proving that these are conceptually sound and realistically implementable. He has focused his research and teaching on several different concepts such as formal semantics of prototype-based languages, innovation in AOP (e.g., monads for AOP and jumping aspects giving rise to cflow), and more recently programming languages for ambient systems. In his Ph.D. dissertation on "Move Considered Harmful: A Language Design Approach to Mobility and Distribution for Open Networks", he proposes a new conceptual model for strong code mobility in prototype-based object-oriented systems. The Ph.D. was the precursor of the AmbientTalk language that was recently developed by Wolfgang and his students. The language targets ambient-oriented environments where failure is the rule rather than the exception. It supports new service discovery techniques, techniques to deal with knowledge that is distributed over volatile connections, and advanced remote object referencing techniques, as well as replication and reversible computations. Like Dahl and Nygaard, Wolfgang challenges students to look at new things, be it virtual machine technology or context-aware programming, with a disciplined questioning eye. And he is not afraid to challenge old established concepts as witnessed by the title of his Ph.D. He encourages the development of sound concepts backed with the practice of prototype implementations in preparing a new generation of researchers. He also continues to work toward putting dynamic languages back on the scientific agenda.

The members of the Dahl-Nygaard Prizes 2008 Nomination Committee were: Gerti Kappel (Chair), Andrew Black, Zoltán Horváth and Arne Maus.

The Dahl-Nygaard Prizes 2008 were presented in July at ECOOP 2008, July 7 - 11, in Paphos, Cyprus. Akinori Yonezawa and Wolfgang De Meuter gave two of the ECOOP 2008 keynote talks:

The AITO Dahl-Nygaard Prizes are named for Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard, two pioneers in the area of programming and simulation. Their foundational work on object-oriented programming, made concrete in the Simula language, is one of the most important inventions in software engineering. Their key ideas were expressed already around 1965, but took over 20 years to be absorbed and appreciated by the broader software community. After that, object-orientation has profoundly transformed the landscape of software design and development techniques. It was a great loss to our community that both Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard passed away in 2002. In remembrance of their scholarship and enthusiastic encouragement of young researchers, in 2004 AITO established a prize to be awarded annually to a senior researcher with outstanding career contributions and a younger researcher who has demonstrated great potential for following in the footsteps of these two pioneers.

AITO (Association Internationale pour les Technologies Objets) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of object technology. Currently, it has 36 members and is registered in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Current President of AITO is Professor Eric Jul. For further information, visit or contact Eric Jul,