Michael L. Scott

Michael L. Scott

  • Arthur Gould Yates Professor of Engineering
  • Professor of Computer Science
  • Former Chair, Department of Computer Science

PhD, Wisconsin, 1985

Office Location
3401 Wegmans Hall
Web Address


Michael Scott received his PhD in 1985 from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He has been at the U of R since then. He chaired the CS department from 1996 to 1999, and again on an interim basis in 2007 and in 2017. From 2014–2015 he was a visiting scientist at Google. He is best known as a co-creator of the MCS mutual exclusion lock and the author of Programming Language Pragmatics, a popular textbook on programming language design and implementation. Several algorithms from his group have been incorporated into the Java standard library.



  • Fellow of the ACM and the IEEE
  • 2006 Edsger W. Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing
  • 2003 Robert & Pamela Goergen Award for "Distinguished Achievement and Artistry in Undergraduate Teaching"
  • Best Paper awards at ICPP 2002, IEEE Micro 2003, PODC 2005, PPoPP 2006

Research Overview

Michael Scott is an ACM fellow, an IEEE fellow, an AAAS fellow, and the recipient of the University’s Goergen and Riker Teaching Awards, the Hajim School lifetime achievement award, and the 2006 Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing. He is widely known for his work on concurrent data structures and synchronization algorithms. He co-led the Cashmere and InterWeave distributed sharing projects. His textbook on programming language design and implementation (Programming Language Pragmatics, Morgan Kaufmann, fourth edition, 2016) is a leading reference in the field, with adoptions at over 200 schools. His text on Shared Memory Synchronization was published by Morgan & Claypool in 2013.

Research Interests

  • Systems software for parallel and distributed computing
  • Programming languages
  • Operating systems
  • Synchronization
  • Transactional memory; Persistent memory