Robert L. (Larry) Akers, Ph.D.


Dr. Robert L. (Larry) Akers has over 25 years experience in semantics based software engineering, formal methods and tool-building. His chief technical interests are programming languages and semantics, program transformation, program synthesis, mathematical modeling of digital and physical systems, and software engineering. He earned a B.A. in Mathematics, an M.A. in Computer Science, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science, all at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a U.S. citizen.

Larry worked in computer-assisted theorem proving for 15 years, first at the University of Texas Institute for Computing Science and Computer Applications and later at its corporate progeny, Computational Logic, Inc. in Austin. He helped develop three generations of this technology, where mechanized logics are used to formally prove properties of mathematical models of computing systems, including hardware, software, and programming languages. At ICSCA and CLI, Akers was a core developer of the Gypsy Verification Environment and the Gypsy programming language, and he also contributed to projects involving the NQTHM and ACL2 theorem provers of Boyer, Moore, and Kaufmann. A great deal of this work involved the formal symbolic analysis and transformation of programs, the development of programming languages, and the analysis and manipulation of their internal representations.

Prior to joining SD, he was a co-developer of the SciFinance software synthesis environment, which fully automated a best-practice process for developing numerical modeling codes. His work included the problem specification language and its parser, the internal problem representation, a language for building algorithm templates, a translator that melds template declarations into a software synthesis environment, various algebraic simplifiers, type checkers and well-formedness checkers. He has co-authored several papers on this work. SciFinance won the 2000 AAAI award for artificial intelligence application of the year.

Dr. Akers joined Semantic Designs in 2003 and was the lead developer of the Boeing Migration Tool (BMT), a DMS-based component architecture modernization tool. The BMT automatically transforms C++ avionics components developed under a 1990's era component structure to a more modern, CORBA-like configuration developed by Boeing.



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Other Details

Dr. Akers has presented his BMT as work in progress in an invited talk at the 2004 SIGPLAN Symposium on Partial Evaluation and Program Manipulation (PEPM '04) and from a business viewpoint in the on-line May, 2005 edition of Crosstalk magazine.

His final report on the BMT was judged among the best in the WCRE-2005 conference and selected for expanded presentation in Information and Software Technology, Vol 49, Issue 3, March 2007.

He is a prominent advocate for municipal parks in Austin, Texas with stakeholder oversight responsibility for the city's new central park. He has also chaired a district-level municipal planning effort in Austin and works to find personal balance between the frays of civic activism, the serenity of software development, and the emotional spectrum of raising a son. He is a lover of music and of his wonderful wife Dianne.

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Dr. Larry Akers