Oral history interview with Butler Lampson

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Oral history interview with Butler Lampson

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Charles Babbage Institute


Oral History


Turing Award winning computer scientist Butler Lampson briefly discusses his education and work in time-sharing with Project Genie, the Cal Time-Sharing System (Cal Computer Center), and the Berkeley Computer Corporation (BCC), as well as his seminal work at Xerox PARC (systems and graphics work to create the office of the future—the ALTO and the basis for the Xerox STAR—the primary achievements that led to his receiving the Turing Award in 1992). The interview, part of an NSF-funded CBI effort to document computer security history, concentrates on Lampson’s many contributions to the computer security research field, and his broader perspectives on various aspects of computer security developments (including the economics of computer security). Lampson talks about his work to build a capability machine, and expresses that despite considerable interest from some research scientists, this is not a fruitful path for computer security. He explores the context to his important note on the confinement problem. He also discusses the context of his access matrix. Finally, he discusses his work at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) and Microsoft, including his work at DEC on distributed system security, and Microsoft’s Palladium Assurance stack. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1116862, “Building an Infrastructure for Computer Security History.”


Transcript, 80pp.

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National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1116862, “Building an Infrastructure for Computer Security History.”

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Butler Lampson, OH 452. Oral history interview by Jeffrey R. Yost, 11 December 2014, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

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Lampson, Butler. (2014). Oral history interview with Butler Lampson. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/169983.

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