George Coulouris

Emeritus Professor of Computer Systems

Department of Computer Science
Queen Mary, University of London
London, E1 4NS

e-mail: george [at]

I am no longer active at Queen Mary, having retired from the staff in September 1998.

Since my retirement, my research career has continued at Cambridge University.

For full information about all my current activities please go to my personal web page.

Career summary

[Pleaase see my Cambridge web page for recent developments.]

I graduated with an honours degree in Physics from University College London in 1960. After working at IBM, the UK Central Electricity Generating Board and the Institute of Computer Science, University of London, I joined the staff at the Department of Computing and Control, Imperial College London in 1965 as a Lecturer.

I came to Queen Mary College in 1971 as a Lecturer, becoming a Reader in 1973 and Professor of Computer Systems in 1978. I was Head of the Department of Computer Science from 1982 to 1987 and twice more for short periods in the 1990s.

I played a major role in the establishment of the Computer Science Department and founded its Computer Systems Research Group, where I led an extensive program of applied research in computer systems and software for more than 27 years.

I obtained funding for and successfully carried out 9 major research projects in distributed multimedia systems, network security, distributed systems, CSCW (groupware) systems, computer graphics, graphical user interfaces, personal computer systems, operating systems, workstation systems and computer architectures.

I served on several UK and European government committees dealing with funding for academic and industrial research.

Between 1971 and 1984 I participated in the development of the curriculum and the presentation of the then new degree in Computer Science.

In the 1980s I obtained funding and agreement to establish a research group in Human-Computer Interaction. The group went on to become a part of the UK HCI research community.

Initiated the first UK Masters course in Distributed Systems in 1984 (approx). This continued until 1989 and led to the preparation and publication of a major textbook on the subject. I supervised several successful PhDs.

Research achievements

Developed the first compiler for the language CPL in 1968.

Co-inventor of ICL's successful Content Addressable File System (CAFS) hardware product. Our design was published in 1971, but ICL waited until 1980 to bring it to market.

Instrumental in the installation in late 1973 at Queen Mary of the first UNIX system in the UK (the second in Europe).

In 1975 I developed em, the first visual editor for UNIX. This was released and distributed to UNIX sites world-wide and saw significant usage for several years thereafter. Em was the stimulus for the development of Bill Joy's vi editor.

Initiated and obtained funding in the mid-1970s for the only research in the UK on the design and application of single-user graphical interactive workstations and window systems. This led to the establishment by members of Queen Mary staff and others of Whtechapel Computers, a spin-off company that developed and manufactured the only UK-designed UNIX graphical workstation.

In the 1980s and 1990s I led or participated several projects on the design of distributed object-oriented systems including those listed below.

Some projects completed at QMUL



Distributed Systems - Concepts and Design, Fourth Edition.

by George Coulouris, Jean Dollimore, Tim Kindberg, Addison-Wesley, 2005.
Full supporting web site available at:
(The first edition was published in September 1988).

HyperProgramming - Building Interactive Programs with HyperCard
George Coulouris and Harold Thimbleby.
Addison-Wesley, 1993, ISBN 0-201-56886-1, 400 pages.

Papers 1990-2000

[Please see my Cambridge web page for more recent publications.]

Full list of papers published prior to retirement

PhDs theses supervised

Historical notes

The beginnings of a project to record recollections of 30 years in computer systems research and development are available here.

George Coulouris, June 2005