Short Biography


Joël Ouaknine is a Scientific Director at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Saarbrücken, Germany, where he leads the Foundations of Algorithmic Verification group. He also holds a secondary appointment as Professor of Computer Science at Saarland University. His research interests straddle theoretical computer science and mathematics, and lie mainly at the intersection of dynamical systems and computation, making use of tools from number theory, Diophantine geometry, algebraic geometry, and mathematical logic. Other interests include the algorithmic analysis of real-time, probabilistic, and infinite-state systems (e.g. model-checking algorithms, synthesis problems, complexity), logic and applications to verification, automated software analysis, and concurrency.

Prior to joining MPI-SWS, Joël worked as an academic in the Computer Science Department at Oxford University from 2004 to 2016, becoming Full Professor in 2010. He earned a BSc and MSc in Mathematics from McGill University, and received his PhD in Computer Science from Oxford in 2001. He held postdoc positions at Tulane University and Carnegie Mellon University, and served twice as visiting professor at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan, France. In both 2007 and 2008 he received an Outstanding Teaching Award from Oxford University, and the following year he was awarded an EPSRC Leadership Fellowship, enabling him to focus (almost) exclusively on research for a period of five years. He is the recipient of the 2010 Roger Needham Award, given annually "for a distinguished research contribution in Computer Science by a UK-based researcher within ten years of his or her PhD", and in 2015 was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant to carry out research in dynamical systems. He was elected member of Academia Europaea in 2020, and the same year received the Arto Salomaa Prize (jointly with James Worrell), for "outstanding contributions to Theoretical Computer Science, in particular to the theory of timed automata and to the analysis of dynamical systems".
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