Gordon Plotkin elected the International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

[21/04/2023] Gordon Plotkin, a Professor in the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh is among 270 new members elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2023. The Academy is both an honorary society that recognizes and celebrates the excellence of its members and an independent research centre convening leaders from across disciplines, professions, and perspectives to address significant challenges.

Gordon Plotkin

Gordon is a theoretical computer scientist best known for his structural approach to computer programming languages, which describes how the individual steps of a computer-based calculation takes place. Gordon has also contributed to the fields of artificial intelligence, logic and linguistics. 

Gordon’s work established a semantic framework for programming languages. This helped to standardise computer science and allows data to be shared and reused across applications. In 1987, Gordon co-founded the Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science (LFCS) at the University of Edinburgh with Royal Society Fellows, Rodney Burstall and Robin Milner. LFCS is now one of the institutes in the School of Informatics The research in LFCS includes the study of theories important to the analysis and design of computing systems. 

Winner of the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, Gordon went on to receive the Royal Society Milner Award in 2012 for his “fundamental research into programming semantics with lasting impact on both the principles and design of programming languages.”, In 2018 he was awarded Ada Lovelace Medal, and in 2021 appointed a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). 

This year’s election of new members to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences maintains a commitment to honouring excellence that began more than 240 years ago. In 1780, the Academy’s founders – including John Adams and John Hancock – envisioned an organisation that would recognize accomplished individuals and engage them in addressing the greatest challenges facing the young nation. The first members elected to the Academy in 1781 included Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. 

Today, the Academy continues to be both an honorary society, electing new members from the non-profit, private, and public sectors, and an independent policy organization with initiatives in the arts, democracy, education, global affairs, and science.

With the election of these members, the Academy is honouring excellence, innovation, and leadership and recognizing a broad array of stellar accomplishments. We hope every new member celebrates this achievement and joins our work advancing the common good.

David W. Oxtoby, President of the Academy 

The nearly 270 members elected in 2023 are drawn from academia, the arts, industry, policy, research, and science, and include more than 40 International Honorary Members (IHM) from 23 countries. 

Related links

Link to Gordon’s personal page

American Academy of Arts & Sciences announcement