Mads Tofte (born 20 April 1959) is a Danish computer scientist who has
contributed in particular to functional programming and the Standard
ML programming language.
2 Research and career
5 External links
Tofte was born in Lyngby,
Denmark and grew up in Holbæk, Denmark. He
studied computer science and mathematics at the University of
Copenhagen where he obtained an
MSc degree (with supervisor Neil D.
Jones) in 1984; then at
University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh where he obtained a
PhD degree in 1988 (advised by Robin Milner). He is doctor honoris
causa 2007 from Kingston University.
Research and career
In his 1984
MSc thesis and prior work he investigated and
formalized the CERES compiler generator (with Neil D. Jones), and
showed that (1) a compiler generator is itself a compiler from
language definitions to compilers; and (2) under suitable assumptions
there exists a language definition that, when applied to itself,
generates a compiler generator. This has close connections to
self-application in partial evaluation.
PhD thesis he developed and proved correct the first sound type
system for ML-style polymorphic references, an important open problem
at the time. Moreover, he formalized a variant of the module system of
Standard ML programming language.
Mads Tofte is a co-author of the Definition of
Standard ML and the
associated Commentary, probably the most precise description developed
for any realistic programming language. He co-developed the ML Kit, an
Standard ML whose structure closely follows the
Subsequently he developed (with Jean-Pierre Talpin) the notion of
region inference, a program analysis and memory management technique
that avoids or minimizes the use of garbage collection. This work was
first published in
POPL 1994 and in 2005 it earned the Association
for Computing Machinery (ACM)
POPL 1994 Most Influential Paper Award.
In the late nineties he co-developed (with Fritz Henglein and others)
a type system and a sophisticated tool called AnnoDomini for
mitigation of the
Year 2000 problem
Year 2000 problem in
COBOL software. The tool
analyses legacy programs to discover all data fields that are used as
dates. This work was presented in a
POPL 1999 invited keynote.
In April 1999 he was appointed the first managing director of the IT
University of Copenhagen. He oversaw the creation of the university
from scratch, the hiring of faculty/staff, recruitment of students and
the design of the study programs. The first students started 5 months
later in September 1999. Since 2003 he has been vice chancellor of the
IT University of Copenhagen.
2002 The IDG IT award (IT-prisen), for leadership of the IT University
2005 The ACM
POPL '94 Most Influential Paper Award (with Jean-Pierre
^ M. Tofte: Compiler Generators: What They Can Do, What They Might Do,
and What They Will Probably Never Do. Springer-Verlag 1990
^ R. Milner, M. Tofte, R. Harper: The Definition of Standard ML, MIT
Press 1990, second edition 1997
^ M. Tofte and J.-P. Talpin: Implementation of the Typed Call-by-Value
lambda-calculus using a Stack of Regions, In Proceedings of
^ P.H. Eidorff, F. Henglein, C. Mossin, H. Niss, M.H. Sørensen, M.
Tofte: AnnoDomini: From type theory to year 2000 conversion tool. In
CV at http://www.itu.dk/people/tofte/cv/cv.pdf
ML Kit with Regions at
ISNI: 0000 0001 1698 8031
BNF: cb136236968 (d