Tobias Wrigstad, assistant professor at the department of information technology at Uppsala University, will receive the 2012 AITO Dahl-Nygaard Junior Prize for his contributions to the field of object-oriented programming, the dominant programming paradigm in the software industry. The senior award is given to Gregor Kiczales, University of British Columbia, Canada, for his work on CLOS, the meta-object protocol, and for spearheading aspect-orientation and AspectJ.
Wrigstad's work tackles several important challenges in software development: how to smoothly transition "scripts" written in dynamic languages to reliable "programs" without rewriting them in systems languages, and how to capture non-functional aspects of a program in source code annotations in a way that a programmer can verify that a program works in accordance with her assumptions. Wrigstad's work brings order to the chaotic webs of interacting objects that make up object-oriented programs to facilitate manual and automated reasoning about a program's behaviour. Software systems are often in the hundreds of thousands to millions of lines of code, written by many programmers at different locations. The ability to express one's intentions about a piece of code in such a way that it can be automatically checked for correctness at any stage during development therefore becomes an essential part of software engineering.
The AITO Dahl-Nygaard Prizes are the most prestigious awards given for work in object-oriented programming. They 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.
Kiczales and Wrigstad will be honoured at the 2012 European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming (ECOOP) which takes place from June 11 to 16 in Beijing, China. Wrigstad's prize includes a small cash award as well as travel expenses to attend the conference at which Wrigstad will also be a keynote speaker.
Wrigstad received his PhD degree from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden in 2006, and went on to be a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue University before coming to Uppsala University after a brief stint at Stockholm University. Wrigstad is currently pursuing research interests in alias encapsulation, type systems, dynamic programming languages and parallel programming.
For more on the Dahl-Nygaard prizes, see http://www.aito.org/Dahl-Nygaard.