BiographyRichard is Professor of Computer Systems in the School of Computing at the University of Kent, Canterbury. He received a B.A. in Mathematics from Oxford University in 1976. He spent a few years teaching at school and college before returning to higher education at the University of Kent, where he has remained ever since, receiving an M.Sc. in Computer Science in 1989. In 1998 Richard co-founded the ACM/SIGPLAN International Symposium on Memory Management, of which he was the inaugural Programme Chair. He has published numerous papers on garbage collection, heap visualisation and electronic publishing, and he regularly sits on the programme committees of leading international conferences. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Software Practice and Experience (Wiley). He was made an Honorary Fellow of the University of Glasgow in 2005 in recognition of his research and scholarship in dynamic memory management, and a Distinguished Scientist of the ACM in 2006.
Richard is the prime author of Garbage Collection: Algorithms for Automatic Dynamic Memory Management, Wiley, 1996. Garbage Collection is the process of automatically recycling unused memory. It is an essential component of all modern programming languages. Since its publication, the book has received huge acclaim:
"The sort of comprehensive engineering manual that is so rare in computing", Gregory V. Wilson, Dr. Dobb's Journal, September, 1997.
"I like the book because of its high standards of scholarship. I put it alongside Knuth's series", Mario Wolzko, Distinguished Engineer, Sun Microsystems Laboratories.
The 1996 book continues to be an excellent introduction to the topic. However, the state of the art has moved on considerably since 1996, and problems that were once considered impossible have now been conquered. Richard was joined by Dr. Tony Hosking (Purdue University) and Prof. Eliot Moss (University of Massachusetts) to write the Garbage Collection Handbook: the Art of Automatic Memory Management, Chapman and Hall, 2011. This book addresses the state of the art. In particular, it covers topics such as parallel, concurrent and real-time garbage collection. It also considers the trickier aspects of implementation such as the interface with the run-time system and support for language-specific features.
The first book (400 pages) took one person 2 years to plan, and 2 years to write. Tony and Richard first hatched the plan for a new book in 2002. A contract was signed with Chapman and Hall in 2007 but the new book (500+ pages) took the three of us more than 3 years to write. I am deeply grateful to my wife Robbie for putting with me while I wrote, and doing so not once but twice!
Richard is married, with three children. In his spare time, he races Dart 18 catamarans.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise