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QM lecturer wins prestigious computer science award

A lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London has received a prestigious award for his significant research contribution to computer science.

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Dr Dino Distefano
Dr Dino Distefano

Dr Dino Distefano is the recipient of the £5,000 Roger Needham Award from BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT. He is a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow and lecturer in software verification at QM’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science.

The award was established in memory of the late Professor Roger Needham and is given annually to a UK-based researcher in computer science who has completed up to 10 years of post-doctoral research.

In addition to receiving the award, Dr Distefano will have an opportunity to give a public lecture on his work at the Royal Society. He will also be asked to contribute an article describing his research in ITNOW, the BCS magazine.

Dr Distefano’s research interests lie in automatic program verification, with a focus on the application of separation logic as a main tool for modular program analysis and model checking of software.

He is the principal investigator for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grants “Adaptive Heap Analysis” and “jStar: Making Java verification practical”, a joint grant with Cambridge University. He is also involved in the development of software tools and works in collaboration with Microsoft Research Cambridge.

Dr Distefano is also the founder of Monoidics Ltd, a technology start-up specialising in software verification and security tools.

"The last few years have seen remarkable advances in the field of automatic software verification. My plan for the future is to continue to bridge the chasm between the theory of automatic software verification and the real world. I would like to see this technology to become available to every developer in the near future," said Dr Distefano.

The award was established in 2004 in memory of Roger Needham, the British computer scientist awarded a CBE in 2001 for his contributions to computing. He passed away in 2003. The prize is sponsored by Microsoft Research, and administered by the Awards Committee of the BCS Academy of Computing.

Dr Distefano is the award’s ninth recipient, with previous winners including Professor Maja Pantic of Imperial College London (2011) and Dr Joël Ouaknine of the University of Oxford (2010).

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