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Mads Tofte (born April 20, 1959) is a Danishmarker computer scientist who has contributed in particular to Functional programming and the Standard ML programming language.

In April 1999 he was appointed the first managing director of the IT University of Copenhagenmarker. 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 Copenhagenmarker.

Tofte was born in Lyngbymarker, Denmark and grew up in Holbækmarker, Denmarkmarker. He studied computer science and mathematics at the University of Copenhagenmarker where he obtained an MSc degree (with supervisor Neil D. Jones) in 1984; then at University of Edinburgh where he obtained a PhD degree in 1988 (advised by Robin Milner). He is doctor honoris causa 2007 from Kingston Universitymarker.

Scientific contributions

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 thereexists a language definition that, when applied to itself, generates a compiler generator. This has close connections to self-application in partial evaluation.

In his 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 the 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 implementation of Standard ML whose structure closely follows the Definition.

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 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 ofthe Year 2000 problem in COBOL software. The tool analyses legacy programs to discover all data fields that are used as dates. Thiswork was presented in a POPL 1999 invited keynote.



External links

  • CV at
  • ML Kit with Regions at

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