Robin Milner Young Researcher Award
The Robin Milner Young Researcher Award is given by ACM SIGPLAN to recognize outstanding contributions by young investigators in the area of programming languages. Individuals whose computer-related professional career (graduate school or full-time employment, whichever began first) started no earlier than January 1st of the year that is 20 years prior to the time of nomination are eligible. The award includes a prize of $2,500.
Robin Milner (13 January, 1934 - 20 March, 2010)
Robin Milner was, for decades, a leading light in programming language research, developing many of the ideas that now form the backbone of the field. Among Milner's biggest gifts to the field was his passion for mentoring and nurturing young colleagues, many of whom have grown into world leaders in their own right. It seems fitting that an award be established in his name to further encourage new generations of outstanding researchers.
Milner's academic career began with posts at City University (University of London), Swansea, and Stanford. In 1973 he joined the University of Edinburgh, where in 1986 he co-founded the legendary Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science (LFCS). In 1995 he left Edinburgh for Cambridge, where he was head of the Computer Laboratory for several years. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1998 and received the Turing Award in 1991. The Turing Award citation includes this capsule summary of his contributions:
Working in challenging areas of computer science for twenty years, Robin Milner has the distinction of establishing an international reputation for three distinct and complete achievements, each of which has had and will continue to have a marked, important, and widespread effect on both the theory and practice of computer science:
LCF, the mechanization of Scott's Logic of Computable Functions, probably the first theoretically based yet practical tool for machine-assisted proof construction. ML, the first language to include polymorphic type inference together with a type-safe exception-handling mechanism. CCS, a general theory of concurrency. In addition, he formulated and strongly advanced full abstraction, the study of the relationship between operational and denotational semantics.
A key ingredient in all of his work has been his ability to combine deep insight into mathematical foundations of the subject with an equally deep view of the key engineering issues, thus allowing the feedback of theory into practice in an exciting way. Further, his style of scholarship, rigor, and attention to aesthetic quality sets a high example for all to follow.
Nominations will be due on the fifth of January of each year. The recipients of the award will be selected by the SIGPLAN Awards committee, which is constituted as follows. (1) The Chair of the Awards committee shall be a member of the SIGPLAN Executive Committee, and shall be appointed by the executive committee. (2) The Chair of the SIGPLAN EC shall be an ex-officio member of the Awards committee. If the EC Chair is unable to serve, he or she may appoint another member of the EC as a substitute. (3) The steering committees of the major SIGPLAN Conferences, POPL, PLDI, ICFP, and SPLASH, shall each appoint a member to the Awards Committee. The committee shall also have the option to decline to make an award in a given year, if no suitable nominations are presented.
At the discretion of the SIGPLAN Awards Committee, eligibility may be adjusted for documented family-related or medical leave from employment. Questions about eligibility should be directed to the Secretary of SIGPLAN.
Please use http://awards.sigplan.org/ to submit nominations.
Conflicts of Interest
Because these awards are intended to recognize persons and software systems of major influence, it is likely that several members of the awards committee may have worked with, or co-authored articles with, the nominees, and may have a conflict of interest. The primary mechanism for handling such conflicts will be to declare them to the committee; once so declared, conflicts of interest shall not automatically prevent a committee member from taking part in the selection process. However, if a member of the committee, or the chair of the committee, feels that the association of a committee member with a nominee would interfere with impartial consideration of the nominees, a committee member shall be absented from the relevant parts of the discussion. If the same committee member has conflicts of interest with more than one nominee, the Chair of the Awards Committee may ask the constituency that appointed the committee member to select a replacement member.
One point of note concerning the Milner award:
Several people have inquired about eligibility for this award, because it seems the eligibility requirement is confusingly worded. The intention of the award description was that, for the 2013 award, individuals are eligible whose computer-related professional career (graduate school or full-time employment, whichever began first) started no earlier than January 1, 1993. However, the award description as written can also be reasonably interpreted to mean that, so long as the nomination is submitted by the end of this calendar year (December 31, 2012), the candidate is eligible so long as their professional career started no earlier than January 1, 1992.
Therefore, for this year, the SIGPLAN Executive Committee has decided to accept the latter, more liberal interpretation of the requirement. In the next year, the SIGPLAN EC will work to revise and clarify the eligibility requirement. We apologize for any confusion. If you have any further questions regarding eligibility, please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Derek Dreyer