Colloquia Patavina: Where are we going - Prof. Andrew S. Tanenbaum (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Mercoledì 20 Novembre 2013, ore 16:00 - Aula 1A150 (remotely connected: 1C150 e 1AD100)



Prof. Andrew S. Tanenbaum (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Where are we going

November 20, 2013

The world of computers has moved at an incredible pace during the past 30 years. In 1983, the computer world was dominated by the IBM System/370 mainframes, the smallest model of which (the 135) had 96 KB of RAM and cost $475,000. But if you didn't have that kind of money, you could get a VAX 11/780 minicomputer with 1 MB for a mere $120,000. That year also marked the introduction of the IBM PC/XT, which ran MS-DOS from a revolutionary 10-MB hard disk. A high-speed Hayes modem ran at 1200 bps but it cost $1199. That didn't matter so much, however, because the first graphical browser, Mosaic, wouldn't be released for another decade. By way of comparison, an iPad is about 500 times faster than the System 370/135, has 10,000 times more RAM, and costs about 1000x less.

But this talk isn't about the past 30 years. It is about the next 30 years.

Short bio

Andrew S. Tanenbaum was born in New York City and raised in White Plains, NY. He has an S.B. from M.I.T. and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He is currently a Professor of Computer Science at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.
Prof. Tanenbaum is the principal designer of three operating systems: TSS-11, Amoeba, and MINIX. In addition, Tanenbaum is the author or coauthor of five books, which together have been translated in more than 20 languages. All in all, there are over 125 editions, as shown on
In 2004, Tanenbaum became an Academy Professor, which carried with it a 5-year grant totalling 1 million euro to do research on reliable operating systems using MINIX 3 as a base. His university matched this amount. In 2008, he received a prestigious European Research Council Advanced Grant of 2.5 million euro to do continue this research. MINIX 3 can be downloaded for free at
Tanenbaum is a Fellow of the ACM, a Fellow of the IEEE, and a member of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1994 he was the recipient of the ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award. In 1997 he won the ACM SIGCSE Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computer Science. In 2007 he won the IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr., Education Medal.

His home page is at

If you would like to attend this event (free of charge), please register on (registration is not needed for faculty members of the Math Department of University of Padua).
If the number of registrations will be very high, some people might be asked to follow the event from a room connected in videoconference with the main room.

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