Gregor von Bochmann
University of Ottawa
Gregor v. Bochmann pioneered and helped established what is now known as “protocol engineering”, a field of fundamental importance: communication protocols are the language of communication networks, and their correctness is essential for today’s global networks to function. Michel Diaz (Research Director, CNRS, Toulouse, France) even stated that “we can say without doubt that [Bochmann] founded the work and the domain of protocol engineering”. These methods have had a particular impact on computer applications where errors must be strictly avoided, such as in high reliability software for controlling real-time systems, for instance aircrafts or nuclear power stations.
Gregor v. Bochmann was one of the first to recognize the importance of precise and formal specifications for the analysis and systematic verification of communication protocols, and the semiautomatic development of their implementations and tests. Joseph Sifakis (Research Director, CNRS, Grenoble, France), himself a leading worldwide expert in distributed systems, said that “Gregor v. Bochmann played a pioneering role in the definition of international ISO and ITU standards based on formal description techniques. […] There is no doubt that his action had an important impact of the acceptance of these techniques.”
Since 1975, his work contributed to the establishment of several new research directions, such as formal description techniques for communication protocols and services, protocol verification and implementation techniques, methods for test derivation from formal specifications, and the derivation of protocol and controller specifications from a given service specification. His work on formal description techniques strongly influenced the international standards in this area developed within the 1980s, which, in turn, contributed to the development of “model-based development”. The methods and tools developed in his group were not only useful for protocol engineering, but also in the more general context of software engineering for distributed systems and discrete event control systems. He is internationally recognized as a leader in this field. However, as pointed out by Prof. Dr. Reinhard Gotzhein (Professor, TU Kaiserslauter, Germany), these “are but some of Dr. Bochmann major achievements. He has carried out substantial research on many further topics, including object-oriented software development, quality of service management, protocol conversion, distributed multimedia applications, semi-automatic implementation of formally specified protocols, tools for the derivation and selection of test cases, automated test results analysis, hardware design with temporal logic, distributed algorithms for system control, and compiler construction”. The list could have also included peer-to-peer systems, control of optical networks, and analysis of Rich Internet Applications.
In addition, he has shown an exemplary leadership for promoting research collaboration between universities and industries. Besides leading many important research projects sponsored by industry and/or government, he participated in the creation of research institutes such as the Centre de Recherche Informatique de Montréal (CRIM) and the Canadian Institute for Telecommunications Research (CITR).
Gregor v. Bochmann is a fellow of the IEEE, of the ACM, of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Engineering Institute of Canada. He holds doctorates honoris causa from the Université Joseph Fourier of Grenoble and from the Université de Rennes 2, both from France. He has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the Urgel Archambeault prize for exceptional contributions in the area of physical sciences, mathematics and engineering; the first ever ITAC Award for academic excellence in research in the field of information technology; the Thomas W. Eadie Medal of the Royal Society of Canada and the IEEE McNaughton Gold Medal. 33 PhD students and 83 MSc students graduated under his supervisions. He has authored over 400 scientific publications in his career, which were cited close to 8,000 times overall.