Michael John Caldwell Gordon (FRS 1994), 28 February 1948 – 22 August 2017

by   Lawrence C. Paulson, et al.

Michael Gordon was a pioneer in the field of interactive theorem proving and hardware verification. In the 1970s, he had the vision of formally verifying system designs, proving their correctness using mathematics and logic. He demonstrated his ideas on real-world computer designs. His students extended the work to such diverse areas as the verification of floating-point algorithms, the verification of probabilistic algorithms and the verified translation of source code to correct machine code. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1994, and he continued to produce outstanding research until retirement. His achievements include his work at Edinburgh University helping to create Edinburgh LCF, the first interactive theorem prover of its kind, and the ML family of functional programming languages. He adopted higher-order logic as a general formalism for verification, showing that it could specify hardware designs from the gate level right up to the processor level. It turned out to be an ideal formalism for many problems in computer science and mathematics. His tools and techniques have exerted a huge influence across the field of formal verification.


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