Alan Blackwell

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Name:Alan Blackwell

Alan Blackwell is Professor of Interdisciplinary Design at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. Originally trained as a control engineer, his early career in industrial automation soon led to an interest in programming as a technical user interface. He implemented his first visual programming language in 1983 (an antecedent of Harel’s StateCharts) for specifying control of a cement batching plant in his hometown Wellington. Subsequent projects included a real-time expert systems language used to implement emergency response systems that now run on the trains of London Underground’s Central and Jubilee lines. After delivering his first conference keynote on programming language design in 1995, he realised that he knew nothing about the scientific causes that made one programming language more usable than another, so left his role as design lead of novel end-user programming languages at Hitachi to study for a PhD with Thomas Green at the MRC Applied Psychology Unit in Cambridge. Since becoming an academic, he and his team have contributed to the design of programming languages, tools and techniques at companies around the world, including Microsoft, Google, Intel, Nokia, Sony, AutoDesk and many others.

Country:United Kingdom
Affiliation:University of Cambridge
Research interests: Interdisciplinary Design, HCI, Design of Programming Languages


PAINT 2023 Committee Member in Program Committee within the PAINT-track
VL/HCC 2023 PC Member in Program Committee
PAINT 2022 Committee Member in Program Committee within the Programming Abstractions and Interactive Notations, Tools, and Environments-track
VL/HCC 2021 Committee Member in Program Committee
VL/HCC 2020 Committee Member in Organizing Committee within the Workshop: Intelligence in Spreadsheets and End-User Programming (ISEUP)-track
ECOOP 2019 Author of How to design a programming language within the Summer School-track
Off the Beaten Track 2017 Author of Keynote talk: Varieties of Programming Experience within the OBT-track
PLATEAU 2016 Keynote Speaker of PLATEAU Keynote: How to Design a Programming Language within the PLATEAU-track
LIVE 2016 Author of Sintr: Experimenting with liveness at scale within the LIVE-track
PLATEAU Committee Member in Program Committee within the PLATEAU-track