John Lions Distinguished Lectures

John Lions Distinguished Lectures

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Leighton Hall, John Niland Scientia Building

UNSW Sydney


Sydney, NSW 2052


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A celebration of operating systems and open source - past, present and future.

About this event


We invite you to join us for the inaugural John Lions Distinguished Lectures on Thursday, 27 May 2021.

Join us for a series of thought-provoking lectures from globally renowned researchers, academics, technologists, policy makers and practitioners in Computer Science and Engineering.

In a world where computing plays an ever-increasing role in shaping society and our future, our speakers will expose you to leading-edge topics in computer science that will inspire and encourage innovation.

Join our speakers as they challenge you to consider how computing can improve our lives and help us address the challenges we face.


Note: During the registration process you are able to select which sessions you would like to attend.

Session 1

Welcome & message from Unix co-creator Ken Thompson

Gernot Heiser, John Lions Chair, UNSW Sydney (In-person presentation)

9:30 AEST | 19:30 EDT | 16:30 PDT | 1:30 CDT

Fireside chat with John O'Brien

Brian Kernighan, Co-author of the famous "K&R" book on the C Programming Language at Bell Labs & John O'Brien, Former student of John Lions(Hybrid presentation)

9:40 AEST | 19:40 EDT | 16:40 PDT | 1:40 CDT

The early days of UNIX at UNSW

John O'Brien, Former student of John Lions (In-person presentation)

10:10 AEST | 20:10 EDT | 17:10 PDT | 2:10 CDT

When Databases met UNIX: A Love Affair

Margo Seltzer, OS researcher, UBC (Virtual presentation)

10:20 AEST | 20:20 EDT | 17:20 PDT | 2:20 CDT


10:50 AEST | 20:50 EDT | 17:50 PDT | 2:50 CDT

Session 2

Hints and principles for computer system and design

Butler Lampson, OS researcher, Microsoft, Turing Laureate (Virtual presentation)

11:05 AEST | 21:05 EDT | 18:05 PDT | 3:05 CDT


12:05 AEST | 22:05 EDT | 19:05 PDT | 4:05 CDT

Session 3

From UX (User Experience) to DX (Developer Experience)

Elizabeth Churchill, Director UI, Fuchsia, Google (Virtual presentation)

14:00 AEST | 0:00 EDT | 21:00 PDT | 6:00 CDT

The Go Programming Language and Environment

Rob Pike, co-creator Plan 9 @ Bell Labs, co-creator of Go Language, Google (In-person presentation)

14:40 AEST | 0:40 EDT | 21:40 PDT | 6:40 CDT


15:20 AEST | 1:20 EDT | 22:20 PDT | 7:20 CDT

Session 4

FOSS over the years

Andrew Tridgell, creator of Samba, AU open-source hero (Virtual presentation)

15:35 AEST | 1:35 EDT | 22:35 PDT | 7:35 CDT

Navigating through The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - FOSS Communities from an Australian Perspective

Sae Ra Germaine, President Linux Australia (Virtual presentation)

16:15 AEST | 2:15 EDT | 23:15PDT | 8:15 CDT


16:55 AEST | 2:55 EDT | 23:55PDT | 8:55 CDT

Session 5

The sel4 microkernel: From research breakthrough to real-world deployment

Gernot Heiser, John Lions Chair, UNSW Sydney (In-person presentation)

17:10 AEST | 3:10 EDT | 0:10 PDT | 9:10 CDT

Lessons Learned from 30 Years of MINIX

Andy Tanenbaum, creator of Minix, FU Amsterdam (Virtual presentation)

17:50 AEST | 3:50 EDT | 0:50 PDT | 9:50 CDT

Closing & Announcement


About the series

This lecture series has been established in honor of the life of John Lions, a previous Associate Professor at the School of Computer Science and Engineering. John was well-known for his impactful teachings and for his line-by-line commentary of the Unix V6 source code, also referred to as the ‘Lions Book’ which became the ‘The Most Famous Suppressed Manuscript in Computer History. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Commentary, and the 25th anniversary of the book being officially published.