Richard Gabriel

Digital Library

ACM AAAI Allen Newell Award

USA - 2004


For innovations in programming languages and software design, and promoting the interaction between computer science and other disciplines, notably architecture and poetry.

Richard Gabriel has had a wide influence on programming languages and software design, and has also nurtured interaction between computer science and other disciplines. He has stretched the imagination of computer scientists with ideas and innovations from other fields (notably architecture and poetry), shaping the growth and impact of object technology.

Dr. Gabriel contributed to the development of Lisp and other infrastructure used by the artificial intelligence community. His contributions to the definition of the Common Lisp Object System set the stage for many object-oriented language features that were ahead of their time. He helped to develop Smalltalk and other infrastructure used by the object-oriented programming community, and has been influential in the ACM OOPSLA conferences, for which he created the Onward! Track to look for the next big advance in object technology. His paper "Worse is Better," a meditation on programming language design, has been widely circulated and debated by programming language designers.

Dr. Gabriel worked with the Hillside Group to adapt architect Christopher Alexander's notion of patterns and pattern languages to the domain of software engineering. He promoted writers' workshops as a means of capturing this important form of design documentation and developing a pattern community that cares about clear communication. He taught others how to run such workshops, for both poetry and software. He worked with the Computer History Museum to preserve classic software, and harvested design patterns in the process. He promoted industry and open-source communities, including Sun's Jini project. He is leading the development of a prototype Master of Fine Arts program in Software at the University of Illinois.

A 1981 PhD graduate in Computer Science from Stanford University, Dr. Gabriel also earned a MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Warren Wilson College in 1998. He is now a Distinguished Engineer with Sun Microsystems, President of the Hillside Group, and a Principal Investigator at Sun Laboratories. He maintains a web site for his writings and philosophy on blending art and science at

ACM Fellows

USA - 1998


Dr. Richard Gabriel is a leader in the Lisp/OOP community with years of contributions to standardization and founding a highly successful company, Lucid.