Association Internationale
pour les
Technologies Objets

The AITO Dahl-Nygaard Prize Winners for 2020

AITO is happy to announce the winners of the Dahl-Nygaard Prizes for 2020.
The Senior Prize is awarded to Jan Vitek.
The Junior Prize is awarded to Jonathan Bell.
The Dahl-Nygaard Prizes for 2020 will be given during ECOOP 2020 in Berlin, German, in July 2020.

Jan Vitek

Jan Vitek has had a major, and continuing, influence on programming language research, from building new systems to improving research methods.

It would be futile to attempt to cover the wide range of his research, but some distinctive themes may give a useful impression. Although it would not have been obvious at the time, Jan's early work on statically analysing Postscript code showed his willingness to perform research on languages and systems which the academic community often overlooks. His later work on real-time Java and, more recently, on R are further such examples, the latter being increasingly impactful on a large community. His joint work on flexible alias protection was later extended to ownership types, which now underlie languages such as Rust. He has also made many contributions to VM techniques such as garbage collection.

One of his most influential contributions has been to tackle the problem of poor experimental methodologies in PL research. Few saw this as a problem before Jan showed the dangers of building atop research that might not have been accurately presented. He articulated the problem, put significant efforts into showing how we can do better, and helped set up the artefact evaluation process that is now a cornerstone of helping our field to improve its experimental processes.

Last, but not least, he has been a tireless and selfless contributor to the community. Many will be aware of his crucial contributions to organising events (from ECOOP to OOPSLA to PLISS, and a host of other events) and bringing academia and industry closer together; fewer will be aware of the extent of the informal mentorship and advice he has offered to individuals in the community; and his selfless efforts to help other people succeed. Few people in our field have had such a direct, positive impact on so many others.

Jonathan Bell

Jonathan Bell has made wide-ranging contributions to software testing, making it easier to test and find new bugs. These aspects are often conflated, but are distinct: testing takes time, so improving its efficiency is key; and the more bugs we find, the fewer disrupt users' lives.

Jonathan's contributions range from using static analysis and code rewriting techniques to transforming test suites to reduce start-up time, resulting in faster running tests. He also worked on detecting code clones in an innovative manner: rather than attempting to analyse source code, he measured the observed inputs and outputs of functions to determine equivalence, accurately finding many clones. Lastly, he invented a technique for capturing a running application's state through a clever combination of bytecode rewriting and careful use of debugging hooks. His contributions are already having impact beyond that typical of his career stage.

The Members of the 2020 Dahl-Nygaard Award Committee are:

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. As of January 2015, it has 46 members and is registered in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Current President of AITO is Professor Eric Jul. For further information, visit