Jeffrey Ullman

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Jeffrey D. Ullman
Born (1942-11-22) November 22, 1942 (age 76)
Alma materColumbia University
Princeton University
Known fordatabase theory, database systems, formal language theory
AwardsACM Fellow (1994)
Knuth Prize (2000)
IEEE John von Neumann Medal (2010)
Scientific career
InstitutionsStanford University
ThesisSynchronization Error Correcting Codes[1] (1966)
Doctoral advisorArthur Bernstein, Archie McKellar
Doctoral studentsSurajit Chaudhuri
Kevin Karplus
David Maier
Harry Mairson
Alberto O. Mendelzon
Jeffrey F. Naughton
Anand Rajaraman
Yehoshua Sagiv
Mihalis Yannakakis

Jeffrey David "Jeff" Ullman (born November 22, 1942) is an American computer scientist and professor at Stanford University. His textbooks on compilers (various editions are popularly known as the Dragon Book), theory of computation (also known as the Cinderella book), data structures, and databases are regarded as standards in their fields.

Early life and career[edit]

Ullman received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Mathematics from Columbia University in 1963 and his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University in 1966. He then worked for several years at Bell Labs. From 1969 to 1979 he was a professor at Princeton. Since 1979 he has been a professor at Stanford University, where he is currently the Stanford W. Ascherman Professor of Computer Science (Emeritus). In 1995 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and in 2000 he was awarded the Knuth Prize. Ullman is also the co-recipient (with John Hopcroft) of the 2010 IEEE John von Neumann Medal, "For laying the foundations for the fields of automata and language theory and many seminal contributions to theoretical computer science."[2]

Ullman's research interests include database theory, data integration, data mining, and education using the information infrastructure. He is one of the founders of the field of database theory, and was the doctoral advisor of an entire generation of students who later became leading database theorists in their own right. He was the Ph.D. advisor of Sergey Brin, one of the co-founders of Google, and served on Google's technical advisory board. He is currently the CEO of Gradiance. He teaches a course on Automata and Mining Massive Datasets on the online learning platform Coursera.[3][4]


Ullman claims in his personal page at Stanford to be against the Iranian government,[5] but it's also alleged that he has demonstrated anti-Iranian sentiments. In one case, he responded to an email from an Iranian student who had inquired about admission at Stanford with an off-topic political rant and went on to say that he would not help Iranian students even if he could:

And even if I were in a position to help, I will not help Iranian students until Iran recognizes and respects Israel as the land of the Jewish people. I know that you may not hold the same insane position as the mullahs that run your country, but it is a matter of principle. If Iranians want the benefits of Stanford and other institutions in the US, they have to respect the values we hold in the US, including freedom of religion and respect for human rights.

Following that the National Iranian American Council issued a formal complaint to Stanford University,[6] to which Stanford spokesperson, Lisa Lapin responded that Ullman was expressing his own personal views and not the views of the University and that "he has no involvement in admission, and Stanford doesn't discriminate in their admission process"[7][8][9][10]


  • Database Systems: The Complete Book (with H. Garcia-Molina and J. Widom), Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 2002.
  • Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages, and Computation, (with J. E. Hopcroft and R. Motwani), Addison-Wesley, Reading MA, 1969, 1979, 2000.
  • Elements of ML Programming, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1993, 1998.
  • A First Course in Database Systems (with J. Widom), Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1997, 2002.
  • Foundations of Computer Science (with A. V. Aho), Computer Science Press, New York, 1992.C edition, 1994.
  • Principles of Database and Knowledge-Base Systems (two volumes), Computer Science Press, New York, 1988, 1989.
  • Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools (with A. V. Aho and R. Sethi), Addison-Wesley, Reading MA, 1977, 1986.
  • Computational Aspects of VLSI, Computer Science Press, 1984
  • Data Structures and Algorithms (with A. V. Aho and J. E. Hopcroft), Addison-Wesley, Reading MA, 1983.
  • Principles of Compiler Design (with A. V. Aho), Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 1977.
  • Fundamental Concepts of Programming Systems, Addison-Wesley, Reading MA, 1976.
  • The Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms (with A. V. Aho and J. E. Hopcroft), Addison-Wesley, Reading MA, 1974.
  • Formal Languages and Their Relation to Automata (with J. E. Hopcroft), Addison-Wesley, Reading MA, 1969.


  1. ^ Jeffrey Ullman at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ "IEEE John von Neumann Medal Recipients". IEEE. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
  3. ^ "Stanford - Automata". Coursera.
  4. ^ "Stanford - Mining Massive Datasets". Coursera.
  5. ^ "Answers to All Questions Iranian".
  6. ^ Abdi, Jamal. "Ullman's email to an Iranian student" (PDF) (Letter). Letter to John L. Hennessy.
  7. ^ Brendan O'Byrne. "Professor comes under fire for alleged anti-Iranian e-mail". Stanford Daily.
  8. ^ "Iranian-American Group Calls on Stanford to Censure Professor". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  9. ^ "NIAC Calls out Anti-Iranian Stanford Professor". LobeLog.
  10. ^ "Stanford University President Responds Directly to PAAIA Over Retired Professor's Anti-Iranian Remarks - PAAIA". Archived from the original on 2014-08-09.

External links[edit]