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Dr Joël Ouaknine wins the Roger Needham Award 2010

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Dr Joël Ouaknine of the Oxford University Computing Laboratory has been named as this year’s recipient of the Roger Needham Award, by the British Computer Society.

Dr Ouaknine received the award in recognition of his research into describing the behaviour and evolution of models of timed systems: which include anything from the control and guidance systems of rockets to engine management and braking systems for cars. Much of his work has been carried out in collaboration with Dr James Worrell, also at the Oxford University Computing Laboratory.

This award recognises Joël Ouaknine as ‘one of the most innovative young computer scientists in the UK, who has made a number of seminal and mathematical contributions to the field of timed systems modelling and analysis.’

Although much of this work is still at a theoretical stage, it has begun to attract interest from the automotive and avionics sectors.  The ultimate goal of this research is to create verification software that helps designers analyse systems, and find serious faults, whilst their designs are still at an early stage - instead of relying on physical testing that can never hope to reproduce all the potential scenarios and conditions under which faults might occur.

Dr Ouaknine said: ‘It's wonderful to receive this award in recognition of my work, and the work of my colleagues, in this area of computer science. The long-term challenge is to develop a suite of tools to assist engineers and programmers to automatically verify the correctness of the safety-critical software systems that they design.'

The Roger Needham award is made annually for a distinguished research contribution in computer science by a UK-based researcher within ten years of being awarded their PhD. The award, sponsored by Microsoft Research Cambridge, is presented annually by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT in recognition of contributions made by individuals to the development of IT.

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