Dr. Alfred Z. Spector
- Ph.D., Stanford University, Computer Science, August 1981. Hertz Fellow, September 1977 to 1981. Dissertation, Multiprocessor Architectures for Local Computer Networks, studied communication architectures for local network-based distributed systems.
- A.B., Harvard University, Applied Mathematics, Magna Cum Laude, June 1976. Undergraduate Thesis, The Efficiency Enhancement of PPL, a software project leading to a compiler for a previously interpretive-only, extensible language.
Employment (1981 – present)
- Chief Technology Officer and Head of Engineering, Two Sigma Investments, October 2015 to present.
- Sabbatical, March 2015 to September 2015.
- Vice President, Research and Special Initiatives, Google, Inc., November 2007 to February 2015.
- Independent Consultant, July 2006 to October 2007.
- Vice President, Strategy & Technology (CTO), IBM Software Group, May 2005 – July 2006.
- Vice President, Services & Software Research, September 2000 – April 2005, IBM Corporation.
- Senior Technical Strategist, IBM Software Group, & Adjunct Professor, Computer Science, Columbia University. September 1999 to August 2000.
- General Manager, Marketing and Strategy, Application and Integration Middleware. September 1998 to September 1999.
- General Manager, Transaction Systems, IBM Corporation. July 1996 to August 1998.
- Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Transarc Corporation, May 1989 to June 1996.
- Director, Information Technology Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, January 1988 to May 1989.
- Associate Professor of Computer Science with Tenure, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 1987 to May 1989. Assistant Professor from September 1981 to June 1987.
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Association for Computing Machinery, IEEE, National Academy of Engineering
Present Professional Activities
Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, 2018-19 Academic Year..
Stanford External Advisory Group for Teaching and Learning, 2015 to present.
Turing Award Committee of the ACM, 2015 to present. Chair, 2017 Award.
Council of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2015 to present.
- Board of Advisors (Dean’s Council), Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 2008 to present.
Previous Professional Activities
- Visiting Committee, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science, 2016, 2012, 2009
- Stanford School of Engineering Advisory Council, 2011 to 2015.
- Advancement Committee, Rice University, November 2015
- Chair, Section 5 (Computer Science and Engineering), National Academy of Engineering, 2012 - 2013.
- Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science Advisory Board. 2001 until disbanded.
- General Chair, Symposium on Cloud Computing, 2012
Vice Chair, Section 5 (Computer Science and Engineering), National Academy of Engineering, 2011 - 2012.
Board Member, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, National Research Council, 2006-2012.
- Member, Committee on Ethical and Societal Implications of Militarily Significant Technologies that Are Rapidly Changing and Increasingly Global Accessible, National Research Council, 2011 - 2012.
Member, Committee on Improving Cybersecurity Research, National Research Council, 2005-2008.
Chair, Visiting Committee, Stanford Department of Computer Science, Stanford, CA, 2007.
Member, Engaging the Computer Science Research Community in Healthcare Informatics, National Research Council, 2007 - 2009.
Board Member, Computing Research Association, 2003 - 2006
Chair, National Science Foundation CISE Advisory Board, 2003 – 2005. Member, 2002-2006.
Board Member, Security Industry Middleware Council, Inception – 2005.
- Carnegie Mellon Department of Computer Science Visiting Committee, 2005.
- Columbia University Computer Science Department Visiting Committee, 2003.
- Stanford University Computer Science Department Visiting Committee, February 2002.
- Member, Board of Directors, Pittsburgh High Technology Council. Circa 1991-1995.
- Member, Army Science Advisory Board, February 1985 to 1989. Member of C3I Summer Study, 1986. Subgroup chairman on Army Information Management Systems, December 1986 to July 1987. Member Army Science Board Steering Committee and Chairman of C3I subcommittee, September 1988 to 1989.
- Member, DARPA Distributed Systems Advisory Board. Chair, Task Force on Reliability, 1987 1989.
- Program Committee Chairman, 11th Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, 1985 to 1987.
- Co-editor, Case Studies Department, Communications of the ACM, February, 1983 to 1986.
- Program Committee Member, Ninth Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, Bretton Woods, October 1983.
Awards and Recognition
ACM Software System Award for developing the Andrew File System (AFS), (with Mahadev Satyanarayanan, Michael L. Kazar, Robert N. Sidebotham, David A. Nichols, Michael J. West, John H. Howard, and Sherri M. Nichols), 2016
American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow, 2009.
ACM Fellow, 2006.
National Academy of Engineering Member, 2004. For the design, implementation, and commercialization of reliable, scalable architectures for distributed file systems, transaction systems, and other applications.
IEEE Fellow, 2003
Recipient of the 2001 The IEEE Computer Society’s Tsutomu Kanai Award established to recognize individuals for outstanding contributions in the area of distributed computing systems
- Ryan Teaching Award for Undergraduate Education, Department of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University 1987.
Entrepreneur of the Year Regional Finalist as founder and CEO of Transarc Corporation, 1992
Certificate of Appreciation for Patriotic Civilian Service, Department of the Army, 1990.
- Three past paper awards at Eighth (1981) and Tenth Symposium (1985) on Operating System Principles: Performing Remote Operations Efficiently on a Local Computer Network , Distributed Transactions for Reliable Systems, and the ITC Distributed File System: Principles and Design.
- Camelot and Avalon, A Distributed Transaction Facility, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Inc., San Mateo, 1991. (Jeffrey L. Eppinger, Lily B. Mummert, Alfred Z. Spector, eds.)
Technical Papers in Refereed Journals and Conference Proceedings
- Google’s Hybrid Approach to Research, Communications of the ACM, July 2012, Volume 55: No 7, pp 34-37 (Alfred Spector, Peter Norvig, Slav Petrov)
- Using a wide-area file system within the World-Wide Web. Second International World-Wide Web Conference. Chicago, Illinois. October 1994. (Mirjana Spasojevic, Mic Bowman, and Alfred Spector.)
- Software, Interface, and Implementation, Jurimetrics, Fall 1989, 30:79.
- A Weighted Voting Algorithm for Replicated Directories. Journal of the ACM, 34(4):859-909, October 1987. Also available as Technical Report CMU-CS-86-132, Carnegie Mellon University, June 1986. Revision of Report CMU-CS-84-114, April 1984. (Joshua J. Bloch, Dean S. Daniels, Alfred Z. Spector).
- Distributed Logging for Transaction Processing, In Sigmod '87Proceedings, Pages 82-96, ACM, May 1987. Also available as Technical Report CMU-CS-86-106, Carnegie Mellon University, June 1986. (Dean S. Daniels, Alfred Z. Spector, Dean Thompson).
- Distributed Transactions for Reliable Systems. In Proceedings of the Tenth Symposium on Operating System Principles, pages 127-146. ACM, December 1985. Also available in Concurrency Control and Reliability in Distributed Systems, Bharat K. Bhargava, ed., pp. 214-249, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York, 1987, and as Technical Report CMU-CS-85-117, Carnegie Mellon University, September 1985. (Alfred Z. Spector, Dean S. Daniels, Daniel J. Duchamp, Jeffrey L. Eppinger, Randy Pausch)
- The ITC Distributed File System: Principles and Design. In Proceedings of the Tenth Symposium on Operating System Principles, pages 35-50, ACM, December 1985. Also available as Carnegie Mellon Report CMU-ITC-039, April 1985. (M. Satyanarayanan, John H. Howard,
- David A. Nichols, Robert N. Sidebotham, Alfred Z. Spector, Michael J.West)
- Support for Distributed Transactions in the TABS Prototype. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering SE-11(6):520-530, June 1985. Also available in Proceedings of the Fourth Symposium on Reliability in Distributed Software and Database Systems, Silver Springs,
- Maryland, IEEE, October 1984 and as Technical Report CMU-CS-84-132, Carnegie Mellon University, July 1984. (Alfred Z. Spector, Jacob Butcher, Dean S. Daniels, Daniel J. Duchamp, Jeffrey L. Eppinger, Charles E. Fineman, Abdelsalam Heddaya, Peter M. Schwarz)
- Synchronizing Shared Abstract Types. ACM Transactions on Computer Systems 2(3):223-250, August 1984. Also available as Technical Report CMU-CS-83-163, Carnegie Mellon University, November 1983, and in Readings in Object-Oriented Databases, Stanley Zdonik and David Maier, ed., Morgan Kaufmann, 1988. (Peter M. Schwarz, Alfred Z. Spector)
- An Algorithm for Replicated Directories. In Proceedings of the Second Annual Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing, pages 104-113. ACM, August 1983. Also available in Operating Systems Review 20(1), January 1986, pages 24-43. (Dean S. Daniels, Alfred Z. Spector)
- Performing Remote Operations Efficiently on a Local Computer Network. Communications of the ACM 25(4):246-260, April 1982. Also summarized in the Proceedings of the Eighth Symposium on Operating System Principles, Asilomar, CA, Dec. 1981 and available as Report
- STAN-CS-80-850, Stanford University, Dec. 1980.
- Extending Local Network Interfaces to Provide More Efficient Communication Facilities, Proceedings Pacific 80 Conference, pages 6-13. ACM, San Francisco, November 1980.
- A Model for Transport in the Central Nervous System, American Journal of Physiology, 232(3):73-79, 1977. (Reynold Spector, S. Robert Snodgrass, Alfred Z. Spector)
- Instructional Computer Systems for Higher Education, Proc. of the 1976 National Computer Conference, pages 171-177 New York, June 1976. (Charles Prenner, Alfred Spector)
Invited Journal Articles
Major Case Studies of Systems
- IBM's System/360-370 Architecture. Communications of the ACM 30(4),291-307, April 1987. (David K. Gifford, Alfred Z. Spector)
- Bridge Design and Construction. Communications of the ACM 29(4):267-283, April 1986. (Alfred Z. Spector, David K. Gifford)
- The Cirrus Banking Network. Communications of the ACM 28(8): 798-807, August 1985. (David K. Gifford, Alfred Z. Spector)
- The Space Shuttle Primary Computer System. Communications of the ACM 27(9):875-900,
- September 1984. (Alfred Z. Spector, David K. Gifford)
- A Case Study: The TWA Reservation System. Communications of the ACM 27(7):650-665, July 1984. (David K. Gifford, Alfred Z. Spector)
Protecting Content on a Mobile Device from Mining: USPTO 9563671 and 9401000 (Alfred Spector, David Petrou, Blaise Aguera-Arcas, Matthew Sharifi - Assigned to Google)
Invited Conference Articles
- Technology Megatrends Driving the Future of e-Society, in Proc. Leben in der e-Society, Springer, 2002, pp. 35-50. (J. Eberspacher, U. Hertz, ed.)
- Camelot: A Flexible, Distributed Transaction Processing System, in Proceedings Compcon, San Francisco, February 1988, pp. 432-436. (Alfred Z. Spector, Randy F. Pausch, and Gregory Bruell)
- Thoughts on Large Distributed File Systems, in Proceedings of the Gesellschaft fur Informatik in series Informatik-Fachberichte: 126. Berlin, Springer-Verlag, October 1986, pp. 555-564. (Also available Tutorial Notes: Integrating Distributed System and Mass Storage System Architectures, Eighth IEEE Symposium on Mass Storage Systems, May 1987, Tucson, Arizona.)
Articles in Books
- Software-Related Offshoring, in The Offshoring of Engineering: Facts, Unknowns, and Potential Implications, The National Academies Press, Washington, DC, February 2008/
- Distributed Transaction Processing and The Camelot System in Distributed Operating Systems, pp. 331-353, Volume F 28, Y. Paker et al., ed., Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1987. Also available as Technical Report CMU-CS-87-100, Carnegie Mellon University, January 1987.
- Communication Support in Operating Systems for Transactions in Networking in Open Systems, pp. 313-324, Gunter Muller, Robert P. Blanc, eds. Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 248, Springer-Verlag, 1987. Also available as Technical Report CMU-CS-86-165, Carnegie Mellon University, November 1986.
Select Technical Reports and Unrefereed Publications
- TP is TP Heavy: In High Performance Transaction Processing Systems Proceedings, 1993. Asilomar, CA. Also available as Middleware Spectra, Volume 7, Report 4, November 1993.
- Uniting File Systems, Unix Review 7(3), March 1989. (Alfred Z. Spector, Michael L. Kazar)
- A Camelot Perspective. Unix Review 7(1):48-67, January 1989. (Jeffrey L. Eppinger Alfred Z. Spector)
- Strongbox: A Self-Securing Protection Systems for Distributed Programs, (Bennett S. Yee, J. D. Tygar, Alfred Z. Spector), Carnegie Mellon Report CMU-CS-87-184. Presented at the Unix Security Workshop, September 1988, Oregon.
- High Performance Distributed Transaction Processing in a General Purpose Computing Environment. Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on High Performance Transaction Systems, Asilomar, September 1987. (Alfred Z. Spector, Dean S. Daniels, Jeffrey L. Eppinger, Joshua Bloch, Richard Draves, Dan Duchamp, Dean S. Thompson)
- The Camelot Project. Database Engineering 9(3):23-34,September 1986. Also available as Technical Report CMU-CS-86-166, Carnegie Mellon University, November 1986. (Alfred Z. Spector, Joshua J. Bloch, Dean S. Daniels, Richard P. Draves, Dan Duchamp, Jeffrey L.
- Eppinger, Sherri G. Menees, Dean S. Thompson).
- Measuring Time in CM*. Technical Report CMU-CS-86-136, Carnegie Mellon University, May 1986. (Thomas H. Kong, Alfred Z. Spector, Daniel P. Siewiorek)
- Virtual Memory Management for Recoverable Objects in the TABS Prototype. Technical Report CMU-CS-85-163, Carnegie Mellon University, December 1985. (Jeffrey L. Eppinger, Alfred Z. Spector).
- Performance Evaluation of Distributed Transaction Facilities. Proceedings of the the Workshop on High Performance Transaction Processing, Asilomar, September 1985. (Alfred Z. Spector, Dean S. Daniels)
- The TABS Project. Database Engineering 8(2):19-25, June 1985.
- Proposal for an Undergraduate Computer Science Curriculum for the 1980's, Technical Report CMU-CS-83-156, Carnegie Mellon University, October 1983. (Mary Shaw, Steve Brookes, Marc Donner, James Driscoll, Michael Mauldin, Randy Pausch, Bill Scherlis, Alfred Spector).
- Transactions: A Construct for Reliable Distributed Computing. Operating Systems Review 17(2):18-35, April 1983. Also available as Technical Report CMU-CS-82-143, Carnegie-Mellon University, January 1983. (Alfred Z. Spector, Peter M. Schwarz)
- Multiprocessing Architectures for Local Computer Networks. Ph.D. thesis, Stanford University, 1981. Available as Stanford Report STAN-CS-81-874.
- On Enhancing Local Network Communication Devices, Proceedings of the IFIP WG 6.4 International Workshop on Local-Area Computer Networks, Zurich, Switzerland, August 1980. Co-authored with Dean Daniels and Sten Andler. ALSO available as IBM San Jose Research Laboratory Report RJ3094 (38310), April 1981.
- The Efficiency Enhancement of PPL, Undergraduate Honors Thesis, Technical Report TR-17-76, Center for Research in Computing Technology Report, Harvard College, June 1976.
Select Commercial Keynotes, 2000 - present
Data Science: Opportunities, Limitations, and Perils: FinTech and Big Data, Cambridge, MA, September 2017
A Magnificent Onslaught of Data:The Potential and the Challenge, Summit at Sea, November 2015.
National Principals Leadership Institute, Keynote - Education for Innovation and Vice-Versa, New York, NY, July 2015.
Empowering the Next Generation of World-Changing Ideas, BBC World-Changing Ideas Summit, New York, NY, October 2014. (Talk on the future of education)
The Prodigiousness of Data, GigaOM Structure: Big Data 2011, New York, NY March 2011
SOA Days 2006, Technology Conference, Bonn, Germany, September 2006, SOA: Present Capabilities and Future Technical/Business Directions
RedHat Summit, Nashville, TN, June 2006 Linux, Open Collaboration, and Innovation
Google’s Map Reduce Engineer Round Table Discussion - Technology Talk. Sanjay Ghemawat, Jeff Dean, Jerry Zhao, Matt Austern, Alfred Spector, August 2008. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXCIItzkn3E
Google Search Infrastructure & Quality Engineer Round Table Discussion - Technology Talk. Jeff Dean, Amit Singhal, Alfred Spector, August 2008. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SGRKPpIMwc
Google Human Language Technology Engineer Round Table Discussion - Technology Talk. Mike Cohen, Franz Och, Alfred Spector, August 2008. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g2Julc2drg
Selected Invited Panels, Workshops, and Seminars, 2000 – present
Opportunities and Perils in Data Science, Presentations at Berkeley, Caltech, 2018 Case Conference, Cornell, Google, Harvard, MIT, Rice, Columbia, Two Sigma, 2016-8
Empiricism and Optimization in the World of Big Data (Plenary Keynote), Informs 2015, Philadelphia, PA, November 2015
Challenges as Data Science Pervades Everything, Panel Chair; Societal Impact through Computing Research, Harvard Center for Research in Computation and Society, Cambridge, September 2015.
The Growth of Empiricism in Computer Science: Successes, Challenges, and Implications, Robert E. Kahn and Patrice Lyons Lecture, City College, New York, NY, May 2015.
Data Science, Exploring the Limits, Panel Chair with participants: Jure Leskovec, Franz Och, Jake Hofman, 2015 Data Science Workshop, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, April 2015.
Computer Science and Society or, The Ever Expanding Sphere, White House Fellows Conference, Washington, October 2012.
Computer Science - The Ever Expanding Sphere, Columbia University, Distinguished Lecture, Spring 2012.
Conversation with the Future: Google, Campus Technology 2011, Boston, MA, July 2011
Prodigious Data, Logic, Processing, and Usage, SEKE 2010, Redwood City, July 2010
Presentations on Innovation from a Google Perspective:
University of Warsaw, Warsaw, October 2010
University of California, Berkeley, January 2009
University of California, San Diego, January 2009
Tsinghua University, Beijing, October 2008
Shanghai Jiao Tong, Shanghai, October 2008
Cornell, September 2008
MIT, May 2008.
University of Michigan, April 2008.
The Continuing Metamorphosis of the Web, WWW 2009, Madrid Spain, April 2009
Why We’re Able to Google, Computing Research That Changed the World, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, March 2009.
Distributed Computing at Multidimensional Scale, Middleware 2008, Leuven Belgium, December, 2008
Toward Transaction Processing Engineering, High Performance Transactions Systems Conference, Asilomar, CA, October 2007.
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, April 2007, IT Eminent Lecture Series, Towards a Software Science of Design. Abstract available as https://www.cct.lsu.edu/lectures/towards-software-science-design. Talk was available as at http://www.cct.lsu.edu/events/talks/166
Almaden Institute, San Jose, CA, April 2007, A Few Thoughts on Software Complexity.
Towards a Software Science of Design, National Science Foundation Science of Design PI Meeting, Arlington, VA, March 2007.
National Research Council Workshop on Uncertainty at Scale, Washington, DC, January 2007, The Old, The Old, and the New
International Conference on Services-Oriented Computing, 2006, Chicago, December 2007, The Steady Path to Services-Oriented Computing.
Comsware 2006, New Delhi, India, January 2006, It Meets Telecom, the Next Generation
Semantic Web Conference, Galway, Ireland, November 2005, The Practical Web – Semantic Acceleration – Helping Realize the Semantic Web Vision http://iswc2005.semanticweb.org/SpectorPresentationISWC2005.pdf
Staying off the Hot Seat with Cool Mobile Systems, Mobisys Conference, Seattle, WA , June 2005
University of Washington, March 2004, Software and Systems Research at IBM.
Microsoft Research, March 2004, The Conundrum of Distributed Systems.
Symposium on Operating System Principles, October 2003, Distributed Computing:
Commercial Landscape, Status, & Challenge. (Keynote Speaker). Video available via
The Bruce Nelson Distinguished Lecture, October 2003, Decades of Distributed Computing,(Distinguished Lecture). Video available via http://calendar.cs.cmu.edu/dlseries/1483.html
- The 23rd International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, May 2003, The Conundrum of Distributed Computing (Keynote Speaker) (PDF available)
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, February 2003, The Conundrum of Systems. (Dertouzos Lecture) (PDF Available)
OOPSLA 2002, Seattle, November 2002, Web Services: Delivering on the Promise of Distributed
Systems (Keynote Speaker) (PDF Available)
International Conference on Supercomputing 2002, New York, June 2002, Challenges and Opportunities in Autonomic Computing. (Keynote Speaker)
CRA Conference on Grand Research Challenges, Warrenton, VA, June 2002, CRA Opening Message on Technology Outlook. (Opening Conference Presentation)
Berkeley CSD ROC Retreat, Lake Tahoe, June 2002, Autonomic Computing and More. (Keynote)
WWW2002, Honolulu, May 2002, Architecting Knowledge Middleware (Keynote)
- EDI 2002 (Engineering Dean’s Institute Meeting), April 2002, Where I/T is Going (Keynote)
- CIKM Conference, Atlanta, November 2001. An Integrated Approach to KM.(Keynote)
- Congress of Muenchner-Kreis, Munich, Germany. March 2001. Technology Megatrends driving the Future of e-Society. (Transcript Available upon request.) http://www.muenchner-kreis.de/deut/010319/MS/Spector/event.htm - archive
- Stanford University, Stanford, CA, January 2001. Computer Science Vs. The Garage.
- Worldwide IBM Research Laboratories, Fall 2000, Computer Science Vs. The Garage.
- ApacheCon 2000, Orlando, FL, March 2000. The Web and Technology Fusion. (Keynote Speaker)
- Columbia University, New York, NY. January 2000. Pursuing Easier Application Development.
up-to-date as of 4/30/2017