Simon Peyton Jones

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Simon Peyton Jones

Professor Simon Peyton Jones FRS.jpg
Simon Peyton Jones at the Royal Society admissions day in London in 2016
Born (1958-01-18) 18 January 1958 (age 64)
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge
Known forGlasgow Haskell Compiler, C--
Scientific career

Simon Peyton Jones OBE FRS MAE[4][5] (born 18 January 1958) is a British computer scientist who researches the implementation and applications of functional programming languages, particularly lazy functional programming.[6][2]


Peyton Jones graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1980[7] and went on to complete the Cambridge Diploma in Computer Science.[8]

Career and research[edit]

Peyton Jones worked in industry for two years before serving as a lecturer at University College London and, from 1990 to 1998, as a professor at the University of Glasgow.[7] From 1998 to 2021 he worked as a researcher at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, England.[7][9][10] Since 2021 he has worked at Epic Games as an engineering fellow.[11]

He is a major contributor to the design of the Haskell programming language,[12] and a lead developer of the Glasgow Haskell Compiler (GHC).[13] He is also co-creator of the C-- programming language, designed for intermediate program representation between the language-specific front-end of a compiler and a general-purpose back-end code generator and optimiser. C-- is used in GHC.[14][15][16]

He was also a major contributor to the 1999 book Cybernauts Awake,[17] which explored the ethical and spiritual implications of the Internet.

Peyton Jones chairs the Computing At School (CAS) group,[3] an organisation which aims to promote the teaching of computer science at school. Following these efforts, in 2019 he was appointed chair of the newly founded UK National Centre for Computing Education.[18]

Jones has played a vital role in the development of new Microsoft Excel features since 2003, when he published a paper on user-defined functions.[19] In 2021, anonymous functions and let expressions were made available in the Office 365 version of Excel as a beta feature.[20]

Honours and awards[edit]

In 2004 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery for contributions to functional programming languages.[1] In 2011 he received membership in the Academia Europaea.[21]

In 2011, he and Simon Marlow were awarded the SIGPLAN Programming Languages Software Award for their work on GHC.[22]

He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow in 2013[23] and an honorary doctorate from the University of Kent in 2017.[24]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2016[4] and a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society (DFBCS) in 2017.

Peyton Jones was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2022 Birthday Honours for services to education and computer science.[25][5]


  1. ^ a b "Prof Simon L Peyton-Jones - Award Winner". Association for Computing Machinery.
  2. ^ a b Simon Peyton Jones publications indexed by Google Scholar
  3. ^ a b Computing At School: About us
  4. ^ a b Anon (2016). "Professor Simon Peyton Jones FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 29 April 2016. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the 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 25 September 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

  5. ^ a b BCS (2022). "Computer Scientist and Educationalist, Prof Simon Peyton Jones to receive OBE". BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
  6. ^ Simon L. Peyton Jones at DBLP Bibliography Server Edit this at Wikidata
  7. ^ a b c Peyton Jones, Simon. "Simon Peyton-Jones - Microsoft Research". Microsoft Research. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  8. ^ Peter Siebel (2009) Coders at Work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming ISBN 1430219483
  9. ^ Bresnick, Julie (3 July 2001). "GHC developer Simon Peyton Jones on working for, gasp!, Microsoft". Archived from the original on 9 January 2020.
  10. ^ Peyton Jones, Simon (18 January 2008). "Ancient, but still having fun". haskel@haskel,org.
  11. ^ "An Epic future for SPJ". 5 November 2021.
  12. ^ Peyton Jones, Simon, ed. (December 2002). "Haskell 98 Language and Libraries - The Revised Report".
  13. ^ "The GHC Team". 22 June 2006.
  14. ^ "Native Code Generator (NCG)". The Glasgow Haskell Compiler. 17 September 2007. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  15. ^ Peyton Jones, Simon (1987). The Implementation of Functional Programming Languages. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-453333-X.
  16. ^ Peyton Jones, Simon; Lester, David R. (August 1992). Implementing Functional Languages. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-721952-0.
  17. ^ Cybernauts Awake!: Ethical and Spiritual Implications of Computers, Information Technology and the Internet. Church House Publishing. 1999. ISBN 978-0-7151-6586-7.
  18. ^ "Top computer scientist chosen to lead National Centre for Computing Education". UK Department for Education. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Innovation by (and beyond) the numbers: A history of research collaborations in Excel". Microsoft. 13 April 2021.
  20. ^ "Advancing Excel as a programming language with Andy Gordon and Simon Peyton Jones". Microsoft Research Podcast. 5 May 2021.
  21. ^ Academia Europaea List of Membership
  22. ^ "SIGPLAN Programming Languages Software Award". Galois, Inc. 7 June 2011. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011.
  23. ^ "Honorary Doctorate for Simon Peyton Jones". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  24. ^ "Professor Simon Peyton Jones, MA, FACM, FBCS, CEng". University of Kent. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  25. ^ "No. 63714". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 June 2022. p. B14.