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IFIP WG1.3 Foundations of System Specification

Prof. Dr.

Joseph Goguen

Deceased at 2006-07-03
United States of America

Joseph A Goguen, member of WG1.3, died on July 3, 2006, 2 days after a Festschrift organised to celebrate his 65th birthday on June 28, which included a meeting of our working group on June 30.

At the time of his death, Joseph was Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of California, San Diego, which he joined in January 1996. He was also Director of the Meaning and Computation Laboratory. From 1988 to 1996 he was Professor of Computing Science in the Programming Research Group at Oxford University, Director of the Centre for Requirements and Foundations, and a Fellow of St. Anne's College. Prior to that, he had been at SRI International (formerly called Stanford Research Institute) in Menlo Park, California, holding the position of Senior Staff Scientist as well as Senior Member and head of the Programming Languages Area of the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University.

Joseph Goguen received a Bachelor degree from Harvard, a PhD from Berkeley, and had also taught at Berkeley, Chicago and UCLA, where he was a full Professor of Computer Science. In 1999 he won a Senior Fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. He held a Research Fellowship in the Mathematical Sciences at the IBM Watson Research Center where he organized the "ADJ" group, as well as three Senior Visiting Fellowships at the University of Edinburgh. In addition, he was a Distinguished Lecturer in Parallel Computation at Syracuse University, gave distinguished lectures at many universities worldwide as well as invited addresses at conferences on formal methods, metaphor theory, software re-use, requirements engineering, semiotics, distributed systems, and sociology. His listing in the CiteSeer most cited authors in computer science varied between about 85 and 120!

Goguen's research interests spanned software engineering (especially specification, modularization, architecture, requirements and evolution); database integration and ontologies; user interface design; new media art; logic and theorem proving; discourse analysis; sociology of technology and science; cognitive semantics; object oriented, relational and functional programming and their combinations; semiotics; and fuzzy logic. He was particularly known for his role in founding algebraic specification, including abstract data types and the OBJ language, the module system of which has influenced designs of the Ada, ML, C++, and LOTOS languages. Theoretical work includes the algebraic theory of abstract data types, initial model semantics, institutions, order sorted algebra, parameterized programming, database integration, hidden algebra, and algebraic semiotics. Other research interests included philosophy of art (especially music), computer security, music, poetry, and philosophy of computation.

It is impossible to describe how much Joseph contributed to the shaping of Computing Science as we know it today. His technical achievements are documented in over 250 publications and will be available for the coming generations. However, his influence goes well beyond what is written: he marked each and everyone who worked with him or simply interacted with him in scientific or social meetings. In his own words "Always I have sought to discover things of beauty – "flowers" – and present them in a way that could benefit all beings, though of course I don't expect that very many people will share my aesthetics or my ethics". But you should read it yourself and appreciate how deep his thoughts were and why we all liked him so much.