Brief Biography of Jerome H. Saltzer

Jerome Howard Saltzer was born in Nampa, Idaho, on October 9, 1939. He received the degrees of S.B. (1961), S.M. (1963), and Sc.D. (1966) in Electrical Engineering, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Since 1966 he has been a faculty member of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at M.I.T., where he helped formulate the undergraduate curriculum in Computer Science, developed the core subject on the engineering of computer systems, and began writing a textbook for that subject.

At the M.I.T. Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (formerly the Laboratory for Computer Science and previously known as Project MAC) he developed RUNOFF, the ancestor of most type-setting formatters, and the context editor TYPSET, which together constituted one of the first widely-used word-processing systems. He participated in the refinement of the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS) and was involved in all aspects of the design and implementation of the Multiplexed information and Computing Service (Multics), including the design of the first kernel thread package, the first time-of-century clock and, in the early 1970's, a project to develop what would today be known as a micro-kernel. Together with Michael Schroeder he published a widely cited set of computer security principles, and together with David Clark and David Reed he articulated the end-to-end argument, a key organizing principle of the Internet.

More recently, his research activities have involved the design of a token-passing ring local area network, networking of personal computers, the Kerberos single-login authentication system, and the design of the electronic library of the future. From 1984 through 1988 he was Technical Director of M.I.T. Project Athena, a system for undergraduate education comprising networked engineering workstations and services, one of the first deployed examples of the system organization now known by the jargon term "cloud computing". Throughout this work, he has had a particular interest in the impact of computer systems on society, especially on privacy and the risks of depending on fragile technology.

In September, 1995, Professor Saltzer retired from the full-time faculty, continuing to teach part-time. In 2005 he retired further and moved to Idaho, where he finished writing the textbook Principles of Computer System Design with Frans Kaashoek. It was published in 2009.

In addition to computer systems, Professor Saltzer dabbles in art history, particularly nineteenth century art of the western United States.  He is preparing a catalog of the paintings of Frederick Ferdinand Schafer, and is always happy to receive information about either the artist or his paintings.

Professor Saltzer is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the IEEE and the AAAS, a member of the Association for Computing Machinery, Sigma Xi, Eta Kappa Nu, and Tau Beta Pi, a former member of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council, and a former member of the Mayor's Telecommunications Advisory Board for the City of Newton, Massachusetts.

Last updated: August 2015 by jhs Return to home page Accessibility