Timothy Good Abbott
- Tim Abbott, known by many as "tabbott"
I was co-founder and Chief Technology Officer
of Ksplice; after Oracle's
acquisition of Ksplice, I ran the Ksplice engineering team at Oracle
for a year before starting a second startup,
the Zulip group chat, which was
acquired by Dropbox in March 2014. I left Dropbox in Spring 2016
and now spend by time running the Zulip open source project.
Open Source Software Projects
- I spent most of 2012-2014 and working
on Zulip, a group chat product for
teams that was acquired by Dropbox. Zulip
sourced by Dropbox in late 2015, and since then I've been the lead
developer of the Zulip open source project.
- I spent most of 2008-2012 working
on Ksplice, open source software
for updating a running Linux kernel without rebooting, and Ksplice
Uptrack, the subscription service that was running on hundreds of
thousands of production Linux servers as of the Oracle acquisition in
2011. Ksplice is now the flagship feature of Oracle Linux, but Oracle
stopped releasing the open source project after acquiring Ksplice.
blog archive contains a bunch of great content produced by the
Ksplice engineering team.
- I rewrote all of the Linux kernel's linker scripts to use a set of
macros, so that it's much easier to rename sections. Somewhere
along the way I also
Linux kernel's binary search implementation.
- I packaged for Debian the Sage
mathematics software and 20 of its dependencies. This was a lot
of work (I was told that I needed to find 5 or 6 experienced packagers
to make this happen), but working with the Sage community was a great
experience. Unfortunately delays in the Debian NEW queue followed by
my starting Ksplice meant that this never was particularly useful to
users; we eventually removed the package from Debian since it got
quite out of date.
- I started and
led Debian-Athena, a port of
Athena and all its useful software to Debian, with a number of
enhancements. Anders Kaseorg and I ran a distribution on top of
Debian and Ubuntu installed on hundreds of machines across the MIT
campus, and then convinced MIT's official IT organization to adopt it
as the new version of Athena.
- Along with Nelson Elhage, I
developed the Linerva
Project, a secure Linux "dialup" (shell) server at MIT; hundreds
of people logged into the system every day to check their email and do
important coursework before it was handed off to MIT's official IT
organization (years after I retired from the project).
- I maintain config-package-dev,
a set of CDBS modules created by Anders Kaseorg and I for
efficiently creating Debian configuration packages.
- I started the SIPB Virtual Servers
Project. The software,
called Invirt, is still in use
but AFAIK hasn't been adopted outside MIT.
- Anders Kaseorg and I wrote nss_nonlocal, an NSS
module that protects nonlocal accounts from getting access to local
- I wrote pam_mktemp, a PAM
module to create temporary files and set an environment variable to
point to them.
- I worked on scripts.mit.edu,
A SIPB service providing a secure environment for running CGI scripts
out of AFS that now hosts thousands of MIT sites (to this day, MIT's
official webservers only support static content).
- I contribute to Debian, by submitting
bugs and maintaining
- In 2005 and 2006, I ran the
Harvard-MIT Math Tournament, a contest for high school students
run by Harvard and MIT students.
- In 2006, I was Technical Director of Maslab, a student-run IAP
robotics competition course (6.186) focused on autonomous,
vision-based robots navigating an unknown playing area.
- I was Vice Chairman and then Chairman
of MIT's Student Information
Processing Board, the MIT computer club, in 2006-2007. I
instituted a weekly series of technical talks ("Cluedumps") every Fall
and approximately-monthly "hackathons" to work on projects, and
oversaw a series of cleanups and rearrangements of the SIPB office
which resulted in a dramatic increase in its popularity as a
- In 2005, I was Secretary of the MIT
Lecture Series Committee, an organization that shows movies in MIT
lecture halls and uses the profits to bring famous people to speak at
- In 2006, I was the (figurehead) President of the MIT Mystery Hunt.
- During college I lived in Random Hall.
- Ksplice won the grand prize of the 2009 MIT $100K Business Plan
Competition as well as other grants and prizes totaling over $1M.
- The MIT Akamai Presidential Graduate Fellowship
- The 2007 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
- The Machtey Award for Best Student Paper at FOCS 2005
- Tied for 7th place and 9th place on the 2004 and 2006 Putnam exams, respectively
- Honorable Mention (ranked 26-75) on the 2003, 2005 Putnam exams
- A Silver Medal at the 2003 International Olympiad in Informatics
- A Bronze Medal at the 2003 Central European Olympiad in Informatics
- A Silver Award at the 2003 Asian Pacific Math Olympiad
- Honorable Mention (ranked 13-25), USA Math Olympiad 2002, 2003
- Timothy Abbott, Erik D. Demaine, Martin L. Demaine, Daniel Kane,
Stefan Langerman, Jelani Nelson, Vincent Yeung: Dynamic Ham-Sandwich Cuts of Convex Polygons in the Plane. CCCG 2005.
- Timothy Abbott, Daniel Kane, Paul Valiant: On the Complexity of
Two-Player Win-Lose Games. FOCS 2005.
- Timothy G. Abbott, Kiran S. Kedlaya, David Roe: Bounding Picard
numbers of surfaces using p-adic cohomology. To appear in
proceedings "Arithmetic, Geometry, and Coding Theory (AGCT-10)"
- Timothy G. Abbott, Katherine J. Lai, Michael R. Lieberman, Eric C. Price:
Attacks on Tor. Proceedings of the 7th Workshop on
Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PET 2007).
- Timothy G. Abbott, Zachary Abel, David Charlton, Erik
D. Demaine, Martin L. Demaine, Scott D. Kominers: Hinged
Dissections Exist. SOCG 2008.
- Timothy Good Abbott: Generalizations of Kempe's Universality
thesis version, based on joint work with Reid W. Barton and
advised by Erik D. Demaine.
- Jeff Arnold, Tim Abbott, Waseem Daher, Gregory Price, Nelson
Elhage, Geoffrey Thomas, and Anders
Impact Ratings Considered Harmful. Proceedings of the 12th
Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems (HotOS
Unpublished research papers
- Timothy Abbott, Yoyo Zhou: On Dynamic Algorithms for Minimum Cut
and Other Source-Sink Problems.
- Timothy G. Abbott, Erik D. Demaine, Blaise
Infinitesimal Carpentar's Rule Theorem for Self-Touching
I normally wouldn't bother highlighting these since they were
basically class project reports, but enough people found them via
Google and then told me they found reading them useful that I'm
leaving them up.
G. Abbott: Feynman
Diagrams in Quantum Mechanics
- Tim Abbott and Alex
Complexity of the Permanent and Related Problems
I've been mentioned in the Tech, MIT's newspaper, occasionally.
Sometimes they even failed to misquot me.
wife and our recipes site
The following are a set of (generally summer) programs that I
participated in as a high school student and highly recommend.
I attended high school at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science
and Technology (TJHSST, or TJ for short). While there, I benefitted
greatly from a community of peers interested in math and science,
learning much of what I knew by the end of high school from them.
Academic groups at TJHSST for which I was an officer and highly
My PGP Public Key (which you perhaps shouldn't trust off a website)
is also available from pgp.mit.edu.
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