Hicks Is Named ACM Fellow

February 2, 2023

Michael Hicks, an affiliate fellow in the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS), was among the cohort of 57 members recently named Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

This honor recognizes the top 1% of ACM members for their “outstanding accomplishments in computing and information technology and outstanding service to ACM and the larger computing community.”

Hicks, a professor emeritus of computer science who also served as a core faculty member in the Maryland Cybersecurity Center, was recognized for “contributions to programming language design and implementation, program analysis, and software security.”

Nominated by peers and evaluated by a selection committee, ACM Fellows have achieved a lasting impact on the field of computing through technical leadership and the demonstration of innovation, originality, and creativity in theoretical or practical accomplishments.

“Computing’s most important advances are often the result of a collection of many individual contributions, which build upon and complement each other,” explained ACM President Yannis Ioannidis in the January 18 announcement recognizing the 2022 inductees. “But each individual contribution is an essential link in the chain. The ACM Fellows program is a way to recognize the women and men whose hard work and creativity happens inconspicuously but drives our field. In selecting a new class of ACM Fellows each year, we also hope that learning about these leaders might inspire our wider membership with insights for their own work.”

Hicks, who also has an appointment in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, has conducted influential research for 25 years, applying novel programming languages and program analysis techniques to solve a variety of problems in security, systems, databases, networks and quantum computing.

He has developed programming languages and tools to secure low-level programs, update software dynamically, ensure data confidentiality and integrity, and implement formally verified programming stacks on emerging quantum computers. During his career, he has published more than 140 refereed conference and journal papers that have been cited more than 11,500 times.

In 2021, Hicks was part of a team that won a Distinguished Paper Award for presenting the first fully verified optimizer for quantum circuits—called VOQC—implemented within a formal proof management system.

He was also part of a $4.5 million DOE award focused on developing reliable ways of running algorithms on quantum processors that already exist or may soon be built.

Hicks received his B.S. in computer science from Pennsylvania State University in 1993 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996 and 2001, respectively. He is currently a senior principal scientist at Amazon Web Services.