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Microsoft Big Brains: Butler Lampson

By ZDNet

January 5, 2010

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If there were a jack of all trades at Microsoft, Technical Fellow Butler Lampson, who is also an ACM Fellow and a former ACM A.M. Turing Award recipient, would be at the top of the list of those deserving that title.

Just before retiring from day-to-day responsibilities at Microsoft in 2008, Chairman Bill Gates said he expected Microsoft’s 22 Technical Fellows to get a lot more publicly visible—now that they wouldn’t be living in his shadow. While some of the Microsoft fellows already have been active on the public-speaking circuit, many of them are not widely known outside the company.

Microsoft’s Technical Fellows came to the company via a variety of different routes. Some of them run divisions inside the company; some focus on particularly thorny technical issues that may span a variety of product units. Regardless of where they sit in the organization, the fellows all have been charged with helping Microsoft craft its next-generation products and strategies, much the way that Gates used his regular “Think Weeks” to prioritize what Microsoft needed to do next.

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