Roger Needham Died - from The Register

Matt Blaze mab at
Sun Mar 2 16:06:41 PST 2003

Sad, sad news.

Roger's pioneering contributions to our art speak (volumes) for
themselves, and our field is diminished by the loss of his future

But I will miss him most for his enormous generosity, his sharp wit,
and his personal integrity.


> --------------------
> Obit: Roger Needham
> By Guy Kewney,
> Posted: 02/03/2003 at 12:13 GMT
> Sadly, we record the death of Roger Needham, computer pioneer...
> There isn't much more to say, except that the man who was the reason 
> Microsoft set up its research centre in Cambridge, England, has had to lay 
> down his life's work. Cancer ended a legend.
> He once told me that it was his idea that Microsoft stopped spending money 
> on patenting its research ideas, and instead, to make the results available 
> to other researchers. I wish I'd known him long enough to have some other 
> stories to pass on myself; he left a long legacy of people who attributed 
> their inspiration to having worked with him.
> Here's what his CV at Microsoft Research says:
> Roger M Needham, born 1935, was in computing at Cambridge since 1956. His 
> 1961 PhD thesis was on the application of digital computers to problems of 
> classification and grouping. In 1962 he joined the Computer Laboratory, 
> then called the Mathematical Laboratory, and has been on the faculty since 
> 1963. He took a leading role in Cambridge projects in operating systems, 
> time sharing systems, memory protection, local area networks, and 
> distributed systems over the next twenty years.
> Roger worked at intervals on a variety of topics in security, (his main 
> research interest while with Microsoft) being particularly known for work 
> with Schroeder on authentication protocols (1978) and with Burrows and 
> Abadi on formalism for reasoning about them (1989).
> Roger graduated from the University of Cambridge in Mathematics and 
> Philosophy in 1956, and then took the Diploma in Numerical Analysis and 
> Automatic Computing in 1957. He had been in computing at Cambridge ever 
> since. He succeeded Maurice Wilkes as Head of the Computer Laboratory from 
> 1980 to 1995, was promoted Professor in 1981, elected to the Royal Society 
> in 1985 and the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1993. He was appointed 
> Pro-Vice-Chancellor in 1996.
> I only met him a couple of times, both times when Microsoft was doing 
> corporate hospitality to publicise the work it was doing in the Cambridge 
> research facility. He was as knowledgeable as any rumour could have 
> suggested; and as tolerant of an ignorant journalist as any academic could 
> ever be. And I shall never get to know him, now.
> Guy Kewney is the editor/publisher of Newswireless.Net
> -----------------------------------------------
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