Thomas W. Reps -- Biography

Computer Sciences Dept.

Thomas W. Reps

J. Barkley Rosser Professor
& Rajiv and Ritu Batra Chair

Computer Sciences Department
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1210 West Dayton Street
Madison, WI 53706-1685

Picture of Thomas W. Reps

Thomas W. Reps is the J. Barkley Rosser Professor & Rajiv and Ritu Batra Chair in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin, which he joined in 1985. Reps is the author or co-author of four books and more than two hundred twenty-five papers describing his research (see His work has concerned a wide variety of topics, including program slicing, dataflow analysis, pointer analysis, model checking, computer security, code instrumentation, language-based program-development environments, the use of program profiling in software testing, software renovation, incremental algorithms, and attribute grammars.

Professor Reps received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell University in 1982. His Ph.D. dissertation won the 1983 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award. Click here for a summary of some of Reps's research achievements, and here for his CV.

His collaboration with Professor Tim Teitelbaum at Cornell University from 1978 to 1985 led to the creation of two systems—the Cornell Program Synthesizer and the Synthesizer Generator—that explored how to build interactive programming tools that incorporate knowledge about the programming language being supported. The systems that they created were similar to modern program-development environments, such as Microsoft Visual Studio and Eclipse, but pre-dated them by more than two decades. From 1988 to 2019, Reps was President of GrammaTech, Inc., which he and Teitelbaum co-founded to commercialize their research.

From 1985 to 2014, Professor Reps was the co-leader, with Professor Susan Horwitz—until she passed away in 2014—of a research group at the University of Wisconsin that has carried out many investigations of program slicing and its applications in software engineering. Reps's most recent work concerns both program analysis, program synthesis, and modeling code using machine-learning techniques.

In 1996, Reps served as a consultant to DARPA to help them plan a project aimed at reducing the impact of the Year 2000 Problem on the U.S. Department of Defense. In 2003, he served on the F/A-22 Avionics Advisory Team, which provided advice to the U.S. Department of Defense about problems uncovered during integration testing of the plane's avionics software.

Reps's 1988 paper on interprocedural slicing, with Susan Horwitz and his then-student David Binkley, was selected as one of the 50 most influential papers from the ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI), 1979-99. According to Google Scholar, the 1988 paper and the subsequent journal version have received over 2,500 citations.

His 2004 paper about analysis of assembly code, with his student Gogul Balakrishnan, received the ETAPS Best-Paper Award for 2004 from the European Association for Programming Languages and Systems (EAPLS). His 2008 paper about a system for generating static analyzers for machine instructions, with his student Junghee Lim, received the ETAPS Best-Paper Award for 2008 from EAPLS. In 2010, his 1984 paper ``The Synthesizer Generator,'' with Tim Teitelbaum, received an ACM SIGSOFT Retrospective Impact Paper Award. In 2011, his 1994 paper ``Speeding up slicing,'' with Susan Horwitz, Mooly Sagiv, and Genevieve Rosay, also received an ACM SIGSOFT Retrospective Impact Paper Award. Reps's seventeen papers in ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems (TOPLAS) run to more than 840 pages.

Five of his students, Gogul Balakrishnan, Akash Lal, Junghee Lim, Aditya Thakur, and Venkatesh Srinivasan, have been recipients of the Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award given by the University of Wisconsin Computer Sciences Department. Akash Lal was also a co-recipient of the 2009 ACM SIGPLAN Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, and he was one of the 18 awardees selected for the 2011 India TR-35 list (top innovators under 35).

In 2003, Reps was recognized as a ``Highly Cited Researcher'' in the field of Computer Science—one of 230 worldwide who received such recognition by the Institute for Scientific Information. As of June 2014, Reps was ranked 4th (field rating) and 7th (citations) on Microsoft Academic Search's list of most-highly-cited authors in the field of Programming Languages, and 13th (field rating) and 23rd (citations) on its list of most-highly-cited authors in the field of Software Engineering.

Reps has also been the recipient of an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award (1986), a Packard Fellowship (1988), a Humboldt Research Award (2000), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2000). He is an ACM Fellow (2005), and was elected as a foreign member of Academia Europaea in 2013. Reps received the ACM SIGPLAN Programming Languages Achievement Award for 2017. With A. Lal, M. Musuvathi, S. Qadeer, and J. Rehof, Reps received the 2023 CAV Award for the ``introduction of context-bounded analysis and its application to systematic testing of concurrent programs.''

Reps has held visiting positions at the Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique (INRIA) in Rocquencourt, France (1982-83), the University of Copenhagen, Denmark (1993-94), the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche in Pisa, Italy (2000-2001), and the University Paris Diderot—Paris 7 (2007-2008).

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