• 1961 August 02
    (b.) -
    2005 November 24


A software scientist known mainly as one of the four authors (referred to as the Gang of Four) of the book Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software. He referred to himself as "#4 of the Gang of Four and wouldn't have it any other way". His area of expertise, object-oriented software design, was a computer programming paradigm based on the idea that a program is composed of a collection of individual units, or objects, rather than a list of instructions to the computer. The objects mimic the objects in the real world with which the program is concerned. He believed it was a more flexible approach than traditional programming paradigms. He was born in the District of Columbia and grew up in McLean, Virginia, where he graduated with honors from Langley High School in 1979. He studied Electrical Engineering, receiving a Bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia in 1983, a Master's degree from Stanford University in 1985 and a Doctorate from Stanford in 1990. As a graduate student and post-doctoral scholar at Stanford, he co-developed InterViews, a set of libraries and tools for developing graphical applications. He also served as a consultant to Hewlett-Packard Co., Fujitsu America Inc. and several other companies. Since 1986 he worked as software engineer, consultant, research assistant and scholar at Stanford University. He joined IBM in 1991, working as a research staff member at the company's T.J. Watson Research Center in Hawthorne, N.Y. He conducted research in user interface development tools, programming environments and object-oriented system architecture, programming and visualization, design patterns and software modeling. He continued to provide consulting services to companies, laboratories, universities and government agencies around the world. His honors included the electrical engineering department Chairperson's Prize at the University of Virginia in 1983; the IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award in 1996; and election to the IBM Academy of Technology in 1998. He was author of several books, of many magazine articles and conference papers and was awarded several patents. He died at the age of 44, at his home in Mohegan Lake, N.Y. in November of 2005, following a struggle with complications from a brain tumor. In recognition of the contributions to computer science that he made during his lifetime, ACM SIGPLAN has established the John Vlissides Award which is presented annually to a doctoral student participating in the OOPSLA Doctoral Symposium showing significant promise in applied software research.
  • Date of Birth:

    1961 August 02
  • Date of Death:

    2005 November 24
  • Noted For:

    Co-author, as one of the “Gang of Four”, of the influential software engineering textbook, “Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software”
  • Category of Achievement:

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