Kathleen Fisher


Kathleen Fisher is the Director of the Information Innovation Office at DARPA and an adjunct professor of Computer Science at Tufts. Previously, she was a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Tufts University. She served as chair of the department from 2016-2021. Previously, she was a program manager at DARPA where she started and managed the HACMS and PPAML programs, and a Principal Member of the Technical Staff at AT&T Labs Research. She received her PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University. Kathleen is an ACM Fellow and a Hertz Foundation Fellow. Service to the community has been a hallmark of Kathleen's career. She has served as Chair of the ACM Special Interest Group in Programming Languages (SIGPLAN) and as Program Chair for three of SIGPLAN's marquee conferences: PLDI, OOPSLA, ICFP. She has also served as an Associate Editor for TOPLAS and as an Editor of the Journal of Functional Programming. Kathleen has long been a leader in the effort to increase diversity and inclusion in Computer Science: she was Co-Chair of the Computing Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women (CRA-W) for three years, and she co-founded SIGPLAN's Programming Language Mentoring Workshop (PLMW) Series. Kathleen is a recipient of the SIGPLAN Distinguished Service Award. She is a past Chair of DARPA's ISAT Study Group and a member of the Board of Trustees of Harvey Mudd College.







Contact Information


+1 617 627 3831

Halligan Hall

161 College Ave

Tufts University

Medford, MA 02155

Other Information

Kathleen's research focuses on advancing the theory and practice of programming languages. All of her work is collaborative and much is interdisciplinary. In one research thrust, she develops domain-specific languages to make it easier to solve problems in particular domains. Examples include Hancock for stream processing, PADS for data format manipulation, and Forest for filestore management. In a second thrust, she studies program synthesis, which uses search techniques to generate programs from high-level specifications. Examples include synthesizing high-performance data structure(s) and concurrency control strategies for a given program and workload, inferring data descriptions from example data, and synthesizing lenses for synchronizing data stored in different formats. In a third thrust, she applies formal methods and other programming language techniques to produce software that is provably functionally correct with the goal of making hacking much harder. Examples include the DARPA HACMS program that built verified software for vehicles that a world-class red-team failed to hack into and a formally verified parser generator that provably rejects all malformed inputs.

A list of Kathleen's publications is available from the ACM DL. 

My cv is available online. I also have a department web page and a new personal web page.

I have previously taught Comp105 (Fall 2020), Comp150PLD with my PhD student Matt Ahrens, Comp105 (Fall 2017), Comp105 (Fall 2016), Comp105 (Spring 2016), Comp105 (Spring 2015), and Comp150PLD (Fall 2014). Previously, I co-taught the graduate programming language course (cs242) at Stanford.

Tufts University Programming Languages (TUPL) website.

Cybersecurity at Tufts website.