[2016] Professor Philip Wadler has won the ACM SIGPLAN Distinguished Service Award 2016.

Professor Philip Wadler

The award recognises the value and degree of services to the Programming Languages Community, especially contributions to the Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Programming Languages (ACM SIGPLAN), its conferences, publications, or its local activities.

SIGPLAN explores the design, implementation, theory, and efficient use of programming languages and associated tools. Its members are programming language users, developers, implementers, theoreticians, researchers and educators.

The award, which includes a prize of $2,500, was announced at the International Conference on Functional Programming (ICFP), Japan, 19-21 September 2016.

Professor Wadler is our Professor of Theoretical Computer Science, an ACM Fellow and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, past chair of ACM SIGPLAN (2009-15), past holder of a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Fellowship, and a winner of the POPL Most Influential Paper Award. He has been a member of our Laboratory for the Foundations of Computer Science since 2003.


The citation on the ACM SIGPLAN website reads:

“Phil Wadler has been a tireless promoter of Programming Languages for over two decades. He has served in numerous heavy-service roles, including PC Chair of large conferences (such as ICFP and POPL), founding editor and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Functional Programming, member and later Chair of the SIGPLAN executive committee, PL area editor for the Journal of the ACM, and many more.

“In his ceaseless efforts to popularize deep concepts, Phil has given talks at several developer conferences, mentoring workshops, and summer schools; has never shied away from less glamorous service assignments (such as editing the Functional Programming column of SIGPLAN Notices or moderating the Types electronic forum); and has written two introductory books, on Functional Programming and on Java Generics.

“Phil is also responsible for the introduction of Functional Pearls as a paper class, since then regularly adopted by ICFP and POPL.”

Useful links

ACM SIGPLAN  website


Laboratory for the Foundations of Computer Science

Professor Wadler's School web page