Saarbrücken-based computer scientist Derek Dreyer appointed Scientific Member of Max Planck Society

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Professor Derek Dreyer, newly appointed scientific director of the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems. Photo: © Oliver Dietze

Prof. Derek Dreyer, head of the Foundations of Programming research group at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Saarbrücken and Kaiserslautern since 2008, and an Honorarprofessor of Saarland University since 2017, has been appointed as a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society and Scientific Director of MPI-SWS as of May 1, 2022.

Prof. Dreyer became known for his pioneering work in programming languages and verification, with a particular emphasis on building rigorous foundations for establishing the reliability and correctness of realistic software systems. In recent years, he and his group have become especially well known for their work on the Iris and RustBelt verification frameworks, both implemented in the Coq proof assistant. Developed initially in 2015, Iris is a system for developing and deploying higher-order concurrent separation logics; though only 7 years old, it has already been used in over 60 papers published in top venues in programming languages. One of the most significant applications of Iris is RustBelt, which constitutes the first formal, machine-checked foundation for verifying the safety of the increasingly popular systems programming language Rust. These large-scale verification efforts place Dreyer’s group at the forefront of programming languages research worldwide.

Prof. Dreyer has received numerous accolades for his research, teaching, and service, including the 2017 ACM SIGPLAN Robin Milner Young Researcher Award, a 2015 ERC Consolidator Grant, multiple Distinguished Paper Awards at top conferences like POPL, PLDI, and OOPSLA, the OOPSLA’18 Distinguished Reviewer Award, and most recently, the “Busy Beaver Award” at Saarland University for outstanding commitment to teaching. Under his mentorship, members of his group have also received numerous awards, including the prestigious ACM SIGPLAN John C. Reynolds Doctoral Dissertation Award and ACM Doctoral Dissertation Honorable Mention Award (for Dr. Ralf Jung).

Prof. Dreyer was born in New York City in 1980. He holds a Bachelor’s in Mathematics and Computer Science from New York University and received his PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 2005. From 2005 to 2007, he was a Research Assistant Professor at the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago. He joined MPI-SWS as a tenure-track faculty in January 2008, only a few years after the Institute’s founding, and has been an integral member ever since. We are thus very proud to be able to retain Prof. Dreyer as a Scientific Director of the Institute.

The Max Planck Society is one of the leading research organizations in Germany. It operates 86 institutes engaged in basic research in the natural sciences, life sciences and humanities. It is one of the top scientific organizations in the world and has produced 29 Nobel Prize winners since it was founded in 1948. At the Saarbrücken computer science site, the Max Planck Society operates two institutes, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems. The two institutes, with their nearly 250 researchers, are an important location factor and an important component of the research strength of the Saarland Informatics Campus. The appointment of Derek Dreyer fundamentally strengthens our presence in Programming Languages at the Saarland Informatics Campus.

Background: Computer Science in Saarbrücken

In 2004 the Max Planck Society decided to establish the new MPI for Software Systems as the second institute entirely dedicated to computer science. It was based on two sites, Kaiserslautern and Saarbrücken, hence strengthening even further the then already strong research of computer science in Saarland. Its goal is to
• attract some of the best talents internationally and provide them with excellent resources and an environment that encourages collaboration and out-of-box thinking;
• pursue cutting-edge research in a diverse team that includes theoretical, empirical, and data-driven approaches, core computer science and interdisciplinary aspects; and
• train young scientists who combine excellence in their chosen specialty with a broad perspec-tive on computer science and the ability to communicate their results effectively to a wide audience.

More information: — Derek Dreyer — Max Planck Institute for Software Systems — Max Planck Society

Press contact:

Bertram Somieski
Max Planck Institute for Informatics
Max Planck Institute for Software Systeme
Joint Administration
– public relations –
Tel +49.681.9325-5710 –