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School of Engineering

Kathleen Fisher

Professor and Chair
Computer Science

Kathleen Fisher

Professor and Chair
Computer Science

Phone 617-627-3831
Halligan Hall, Room 245
161 College Avenue, Medford, MA
programming languages

Before joining Tufts School of Engineering, Kathleen Fisher was a program manager at DARPA, where she started and managed the HACMS and PPAML programs; a consulting faculty member in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University, and a principal member of the technical staff at AT&T Labs Research. Fisher is an ACM Fellow. She is an associate editor for TOPLAS and a former editor of the Journal of Functional Programming. Fisher is a past chair of the ACM Special Interest Group in Programming Languages (SIGPLAN) and past co-chair of CRA's Committee on the Status of Women (CRA-W). She is a recipient of the SIGPLAN Distinguished Service Award, vice chair of DARPA's ISAT study group, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Harvey Mudd College.

Ph.D., Computer Science, Stanford University, 1996
B.Sc., Math and Computational Science, Stanford University, 1991
Professional Experience: 

Department of Computer Science, Tufts School of Engineering

  • 2016-present: Chair
  • 2011-present: Professor

Program Manager, DARPA


Consulting Professor, Computer Science Department, Stanford University


Technical Staff, AT&T Labs Research

  • 2002-2011: Principal Member
  • 1996-2002: Senior Member
Research Interests: 

Kathleen Fisher's research focuses on advancing the theory and practice of programming languages and on applying ideas from the programming language community to the problem of ad hoc data management. The main thrust of her work has been in domain-specific languages to facilitate programming with massive amounts of ad hoc data. Recently, she has been exploring synergies between machine learning and programming languages and studying how to apply advances in programming languages to the problem of building more secure systems.

Selected Honors and Awards: 
2013: Distinguished Service Award, SIGPLAN
2012: Distinguished Paper, ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI)
2011: Best Paper Award, PLDI
2010: Elected Fellow, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
2007: Distinguished Scientist Award, ACM
2000: Best Research Paper Award, KDD
1994-1996: Fellow, Hertz Foundation
Selected Professional Activities: 
2015-present: Member, DARPA ISAT Working Group
2015-present: Member, ACM Fellows Selection Group
2014-present: Associate Editor, Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems
2009-2011: Member, Computing Research Association Board
2008-2011: Chair, CRA Subcommittee on the Status of Women in Research Board
2003-present: Member, CRA Subcommittee on the Status of Women in Research Board
Professional Memberships: 
Association for Computing Machinery