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ACM A.M. Turing Award Goes to Pioneer Who Advanced Reliability and Consistency of Computing Systems

June issue of Communications of the ACM features Turing Award recipient Leslie Lamport in articles and video

ACM A.M. Turing Award Goes to Pioneer Who Advanced Reliability and Consistency of Computing Systems

Leslie Lamport (photo courtesy of Microsoft Research)

Award Citation

For fundamental contributions to the theory and practice of distributed and concurrent systems, notably the invention of concepts such as causality and logical clocks, safety and liveness, replicated state machines, and sequential consistency.

Longer Citation
Leslie Lamport originated many of the key concepts of distributed and concurrent computing, including causality and logical clocks, replicated state machines, and sequential consistency. Along with others, he invented the notion of Byzantine failure and algorithms for reaching agreement despite such failures. He contributed to the development and understanding of proof methods for concurrent systems, notably by introducing the notions of safety and liveness as the proper generalizations of partial correctness and termination to the concurrent setting. In addition, he devised important distributed algorithms and developed a substantial collection of formal modeling and verification methods and tools that have been used to improve the quality of real distributed systems. His contributions share a common theme: to impose clear and well-defined coherence on the seemingly chaotic behavior of a collection of distributed processes. They make it substantially easier for algorithm designers to design distributed algorithms, and for programmers to write distributed programs.


Leslie Lamport is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research. He received the IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award for his contributions to the theory and practice of concurrent programming and fault-tolerant computing.  He was also awarded the Edsger W. Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing for his paper “Reaching Agreement in the Presence of Faults.” He won the IEEE John von Neumann Medal and was also elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Prior to his current position, his career included extended tenures at SRI International and Digital Equipment Corporation (later Compaq Corporation). The author or co-author of nearly 150 publications on concurrent and distributed computing and their applications, he holds a B.S. degree in mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from Brandeis University.

ACM will present the 2013 A.M. Turing Award at its annual Awards Banquet on June 21 in San Francisco, California.

Award citation

Read ACM's News Release on the 2013 Turing Award.

Video and Seminal Paper
View a video by Microsoft Research on Leslie Lamport's work and read his 1978 paper, "Time, Clocks, and the Ordering of Events in a Distributed System," one of the most cited in the history of computer science.

CACM video and feature articles
The June issue of Communications of the ACM features ACM A.M. Turing Award recipient Leslie Lamport's work and accomplishments. Lamport is profiled in "General Agreement" by Neil Savage, discussed in "Divide and Conquer," a Q&A by Leah Hoffman, and spotlighted in an original video on the CACM website

More Media Coverage

Microsoft Research

Seattle Times


Network World

Network World blog


MIT Technology Review



About the ACM A.M. Turing Award
The ACM A.M. Turing Award was named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing, and who was a key contributor to the Allied cryptanalysis of the German Enigma cipher and the German "Tunny" encoding machine in World War II. Since its inception in 1966, the Turing Award has honored the computer scientists and engineers who created the systems and underlying theoretical foundations that have propelled the information technology industry. Widely considered the "Nobel Prize in Computing," the Turing Award carries a $250,000 prize, with financial support provided by Intel Corporation and Google Inc.

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.