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Brent Hailpern

Part-Time Lecturer - Silicon Valley


Mailing Address

Northeastern University
ATTN: Brent Hailpern, 6024 Silver Creek Valley Rd
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115-5000

Research Interests

  • Programming languages
  • Software engineering


  • PhD in Computer Science, Stanford University


Brent Hailpern is a fellow of the ACM and the IEEE. He was a distinguished research staff member and scientific director of the AI Horizons Network, as well as head of computer science for IBM Research. He retired from IBM at the end of 2019.

While working toward his PhD, which Hailpern received in 1980, he worked on a thesis entitled ‘‘Verifying Concurrent Processes Using Temporal Logic.’’ Hailpern joined the Thomas J. Watson Research Center as a research staff member in 1980, where he worked on and managed various projects relating to issues of concurrency and programming languages. From 1999 to 2004, he was the associate director of computer science for IBM Research.

From 2004 to 2011, he managed departments at Watson Research covering programming languages, software engineering, and human-computer interaction. There, he served as director of programming models and tools, with a worldwide responsibility for IBM Research’s strategy and research agenda in software technology. From 2011 to 2013, he was the director of the computer science department at IBM Research-Almaden.

Hailpern is a former secretary of the ACM, former member of ACM Council, and former chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Programming Languages (SIGPLAN). He was the chair of the SIGPLAN 1991 conference on programming language design and implementation; chair of SIGPLAN’s 1999 conference on object-oriented programming, systems, languages, and applications; co-chair of SIGPLAN’s 2007 History of Programming Languages Conference; and co-chair of the 2014 CRA Snowbird Conference. Hailpern has been a member of the CRA Board of Directors since 2011 and recently completed a term with the NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering Advisory Committee (2012-2019).

About Brent

Where did you grow up?

Denver, Colorado.

What are the specifics of your educational background?

My PhD research was in programming language design, concurrency, and software verification.

What are your research interests?

My last research project at IBM involved understanding and facilitating the life cycle of cognitive software, which is substantially different than the life cycle of conventional software. This difference has profound implications for the methodology and tools required to build such software. Cognitive software possesses at least one “cognitive” or “intelligent” component, such as a component implemented using machine learning, neural networks, or rules. Multiple cognitive components will often be involved in a cognitive application or service, but even just one component is enough to impart special and challenging complications.

Learn more about my research focus here.

What courses/subjects do you teach?

CS 5006 and CS 5007.