Hicks Is Named ACM Fellow

Published February 3, 2023

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Michael Hicks was among the cohort of 57 members recently named Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

This honor recognizes the top 1% of ACM members for their “outstanding accomplishments in computing and information technology and outstanding service to ACM and the larger computing community.”

Hicks, a professor emeritus of computer science who also served as a core faculty member in the Maryland Cybersecurity Center, was recognized for “contributions to programming language design and implementation, program analysis, and software security.”

Nominated by peers and evaluated by a selection committee, ACM Fellows have achieved a lasting impact on the field of computing through technical leadership and the demonstration of innovation, originality, and creativity in theoretical or practical accomplishments.

“Computing’s most important advances are often the result of a collection of many individual contributions, which build upon and complement each other,” explained ACM President Yannis Ioannidis in the January 18 announcement recognizing the 2022 inductees. “But each individual contribution is an essential link in the chain. The ACM Fellows program is a way to recognize the women and men whose hard work and creativity happens inconspicuously but drives our field. In selecting a new class of ACM Fellows each year, we also hope that learning about these leaders might inspire our wider membership with insights for their own work.”

Hicks, who has an appointment in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, has conducted influential research for 25 years, applying novel programming languages and program analysis techniques to solve a variety of problems in security, systems, databases, networks and quantum computing.

He has developed programming languages and tools to secure low-level programs, update software dynamically, ensure data confidentiality and integrity, and implement formally verified programming stacks on emerging quantum computers. During his career, he has published more than 140 refereed conference and journal papers that have been cited more than 11,500 times. 

In 2022, Hicks received the ACM Special Interest Group on Programming Languages (SIGPLANDistinguished Service Award. He was elected and served as SIGPLAN chair (2015-18) and then as past chair for three years. As past chair, he founded and was the editor-in-chief of the SIGPLAN blog called PL Perspectives. Hicks was also the Principles of Programming Languages symposium steering committee chair (2018-21) and Computer Security Foundations Symposium programming co-chair (2015-16).

He is currently area chair for the SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation and editor-in-chief of the Proceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages.

Hicks also contributes to community outreach activities, including the Build It, Break It, Fix It security contest he developed and ran for several years at UMD.

Hicks received his B.S. in computer science from Pennsylvania State University in 1993 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996 and 2001, respectively. He is currently a senior principal scientist at Amazon Web Services.