Bio

Alfred V. Aho is the Lawrence Gussman Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University. He served as Chair of the department from 1995 to 1997, and again in the spring of 2003.

Professor Aho has a B.A.Sc in Engineering Physics from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science from Princeton University.

Professor Aho won the Great Teacher Award for 2003 from the Society of Columbia Graduates. In 2014 he was again recognized for teaching excellence by winning the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award from the Columbia Engineering Alumni Association.

Professor Aho has received the IEEE John von Neumann Medal and is a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Helsinki and Waterloo, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, ACM, Bell Labs, and IEEE.

Professor Aho is well known for his many papers and books on algorithms and data structures, programming languages, compilers, and the foundations of computer science. His book coauthors include John Hopcroft, Brian Kernighan, Monica Lam, Ravi Sethi, Jeff Ullman, and Peter Weinberger.

Professor Aho is the "A" in AWK, a widely used pattern-matching language; "W" is Peter Weinberger and "K" is Brian Kernighan. (Think of AWK as the predecessor of perl.) He also wrote the initial versions of the string pattern-matching utilities egrep and fgrep that are a part of UNIX; fgrep was the first widely used implementation of what is now called the Aho-Corasick algorithm.

Professor Aho's current research interests include programming languages, compilers, algorithms, software engineering, and quantum computation.

Professor Aho has served as Chair of the Computer Science and Engineering Section of the National Academy of Engineering, as Chair of ACM's Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computability Theory, and twice as Chair of the Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation's Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate. He is currently the co-chair of the contributed and review articles sections of the Communications of the ACM.

Prior to his current position at Columbia, Professor Aho was Vice President of the Computing Sciences Research Center at Bell Labs, the lab that invented UNIX, C and C++. He was previously a member of technical staff, a department head, and the director of this center. Professor Aho also served as General Manager of the Information Sciences and Technologies Research Laboratory at Bellcore (now Telcordia).

Professor Aho plays bridge, golf, and the violin in a string quartet.