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Kenneth Baclawski

Associate Professor Emeritus

Kenneth Baclawski


Office Location

440 Huntington Avenue
342 West Village H
Boston, MA 02115

Mailing Address

Northeastern University
ATTN: Kenneth Baclawski, 202 WVH
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Research Interests

  • Semantics of data
  • Web service specification and deployment
  • Big Data and NoSQL systems
  • High-performance ontology-based computing
  • Knowledge bases for biology and medicine
  • Ontologies for life sciences, situation awareness, and financial services


  • PhD in Mathematics, Harvard University
  • BS in Applied Mathematics & Engineering Physics, University of Wisconsin


Kenneth Baclawski is an associate professor of computer science at Northeastern University. Prior to joining Northeastern, he was at Haverford College and MIT. He has held visiting positions at the University of California, San Diego and Harvard Medical School. Along with holding various industry consulting positions, Baclawski co-founded several technology companies.

Baclawski’s main research area is data semantics. His diverse areas of interest require an understanding of data for interoperability of systems, integration of data from diverse sources, inference, question answering, and data mining. He has contributed to areas such as formal methods for software engineering and software modeling, data mining in biology and medicine, semantic collaboration tools, situation awareness, information fusion, self-aware and self-adaptive systems, and wireless communication.

Baclawski is a pioneer in Big Data, having worked in this area as a consultant at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1980. In 1993, he allegedly developed the search engine technology now called MapReduce, the basis for NoSQL search engines such as Google and Hadoop and one of the fundamental tools used for Big Data systems. Northeastern University patented this technology, and the patent has not been successfully challenged. Baclawski has been awarded 10 other patents related to high-performance search and information retrieval. Northeastern University sued Google for patent infringement, and Google awarded a settlement to Northeastern University. (The terms of the settlement are confidential.)

Baclawski organizes and chairs numerous conferences and workshops in data semantics. He is the treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association for Ontology and its Applications.  He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ontolog Forum, the umbrella organization for data semantics initiatives. He chairs two standards committees: OASIS Content Management Interoperability Services for Digital Asset Management (which he is a founding member of) and OASIS Integrated Collaboration Object Model for Interoperable Collaboration Services. He is a voting member of two other standards committees: OASIS Content Management Interoperability Services and OASIS Open Data Protocol (which he is a founding member of).