Michael Burrows

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Michael Burrows
Born 1963 (age 53–54)[citation needed]
Residence United States of America
Citizenship United Kingdom
Nationality British
Fields Computer Science
Institutions Google
University of Cambridge
Digital Equipment Corporation
Alma mater University College London (BSc)
University of Cambridge (PhD)
Thesis Efficient Data Sharing (1988)
Doctoral advisor David Wheeler[1][2]
Known for Burrows–Wheeler transform[3][4]
Influences Roger Needham[1]
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society (2013)[5]

Michael Burrows, FRS (born 1963) is a British computer scientist and the creator of the Burrows–Wheeler transform currently working for Google. Born in Britain, he now[when?] lives in the United States, although remaining a British citizen. [6][7][8]


Burrows studied Electronic Engineering with Computer Science at University College London and then completed his PhD in the Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, where he was a postgraduate student of Churchill College, Cambridge supervised by David Wheeler.[1] [9][10]


Upon leaving Cambridge, he moved to USA and worked at the Systems Research Center (SRC) at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) where, with Louis Monier, he was one of the two main creators of AltaVista.[11]

Following Compaq's acquisition of DEC, Burrows worked briefly for Microsoft preventing spamming.[10][12] Shortly thereafter he went to Google.[13]

After his early work at the University of Cambridge, where he researched microkernels[citation needed] and basic matters of security, he went on to enlarge upon that work as systems were deployed at large scale on the Internet.

During his employment at Google, Burrows has studied concurrency and synchronisation, and for programming in the large[clarification needed] – especially with respect to the C++ language.[citation needed]

Awards and honors[edit]

Burrows was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2013.[10] His nomination reads:


  1. ^ a b c Burrows, Michael (1988). Efficient Data Sharing (PDF) (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ Michael Burrows at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ Burrows, Michael; Wheeler, David J. (1994), A block sorting lossless data compression algorithm, Technical Report 124, Digital Equipment Corporation 
  4. ^ Salson, M.; Lecroq, T.; Léonard, M.; Mouchard, L. (2009). "A four-stage algorithm for updating a Burrows–Wheeler transform". Theoretical Computer Science. 410 (43): 4350. doi:10.1016/j.tcs.2009.07.016. 
  5. ^ a b Anon (2013). "Dr Michael Burrows FRS". royalsociety.org. London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-11-23.  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the royalsociety.org website where:

    “All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.” --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on September 25, 2015. Retrieved 2016-03-09. 

  6. ^ Michael Burrows at DBLP Bibliography Server
  7. ^ Savage, S.; Burrows, M.; Nelson, G.; Sobalvarro, P.; Anderson, T. (1997). "Eraser: A dynamic data race detector for multithreaded programs". ACM Transactions on Computer Systems. 15 (4): 391. doi:10.1145/265924.265927. 
  8. ^ Abadi, M. N.; Burrows, M.; Lampson, B.; Plotkin, G. (1993). "A calculus for access control in distributed systems" (PDF). ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems. 15 (4): 706. doi:10.1145/155183.155225. 
  9. ^ Burrows, M.; Abadi, M.; Needham, R. M. (1989). "A Logic of Authentication". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 426 (1871): 233. Bibcode:1989RSPSA.426..233B. doi:10.1098/rspa.1989.0125. 
  10. ^ a b c BURROWS, Dr. Michael. ukwhoswho.com. Who's Who. 2017 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.  (subscription required)
  11. ^ "1996 Dvorak Awards Winners". citivu.com. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Michael Burrows". angreiter.com. 
  13. ^ Lu, Crystal (January 12, 2007). "The Genius: Mike Burrows' self-effacing journey through Silicon Valley". The Cardinal Inquirer. Archived from the original on February 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-01.