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Gerald J. Popek
Died July 20, 2008 (aged 61)
Fields Computer Scientist
Institutions UCLA
Locus Computing Corporation
United Online
Alma mater New York University
Harvard University
Known for Popek and Goldberg virtualization requirements

Gerald J. Popek (Jerry Popek, c. 1947 – 20 July 2008) was an American Computer Scientist, known for his research on Operating Systems and virtualization.

With Robert P. Goldberg he proposed the Popek and Goldberg virtualization requirements [1], a set of conditions necessary for a computer architecture to support system virtualization.


Gerald J. Popek graduated from Rutherford (NJ) High School in 1964, where he was the class valedictorian. He graduated from New York University in 1968 with a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering. [2]

In 1970 he completed an M.S. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard.

In 1973 he completed a Ph.D, also in Applied Mathematics at Harvard and moved to UCLA.

At UCLA he worked on virtualisation, network security, reliable operating systems and Databases. He became Director of the Center for Experimental Computer Science.

Around 1980 he worked on the LOCUS distributed operating system [3], an early implementation of the single-system image idea.

Between April 1981 and June 1983 Popek served on the DARPA "steering committee" for BSD UNIX formed by Duane Adams of DARPA to guide the design work leading to 4.2BSD. Other members of the committee were Bob Fabry, Bill Joy and Sam Leffler from UCB, Alan Nemeth and Rob Gurwitz from BBN, Dennis Ritchie from Bell Labs, Keith Lantz from Stanford, Rick Rashid from Carnegie-Mellon, Bert Halstead from MIT and Dan Lynch from ISI. [4]

In order to pursue the commercial opportunities of LOCUS he formed the Locus Computing Corporation in 1982, taking on the roles of Chief technical officer and Chairman. [5]

In 1995 Locus was acquired by Platinum Technology Inc. in a share swap. [6] Dr Popek took on the role of CTO of Platinum.

In 1999 he left Platinum to become CTO of, "the first Internet car company" [7]

In 2000 he left to join NetZero also as CTO [8]

In 2001 NetZero merged with its competitor Juno to form United Online Inc. [9] and Dr Popek became Executive Vice President and CTO of the new company. [10]

In June 2009 he was posthumously awarded the 2009 USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award.


  1. ^ Popek, Gerald J. (1973), Formal requirements for virtualizable third generation architectures, pp. 121, doi:10.1145/800009.808061 
  2. ^ "Popek's page at the UCLA Laboratory for Advanced Systems Research". Retrieved 2008-09-23. 
  3. ^ Popek, G. (1981), "LOCUS a network transparent, high reliability distributed system", ACM SIGOPS Operating Systems Review 15: 169, doi:10.1145/1067627.806605 
  4. ^ "20 Years of Berkeley Unix: From AT&T-Owned to Freely Redistributable - DARPA Support". O'Reilly. Retrieved 2008-09-23. 
  5. ^ "Locus Computing Corp. (company profile)". Retrieved 2008-09-23. 
  6. ^ "PLATINUM technology And Locus Computing Finalize Acquisition; Locus Computing officially becomes a PLATINUM technology subsidiary". 
  7. ^ " Names Internet Pioneer New Chief Technology Officer; Gerald Popek Joins from Platinum Technology to Lead Technology Team at First Internet Car Company". Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  8. ^ "NetZero Names Internet Pioneer Gerald Popek New Chief Technology Officer; Former Executive To Lead Technology Team for Leading Free ISP". Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  9. ^ "NetZero, Juno to unite in merger".,-Juno-to-unite-in-merger/2100-1033_3-268057.html. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  10. ^ "EXECUTIVE PROFILE Gerald J. Popek Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President, United Online Inc.". 

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