James G. Mitchell

James G. Mitchell

James George Mitchell
Born (1943-04-25) April 25, 1943
Kitchener, Ontario
Citizenship United States
Nationality Canadian
Fields Computer Science
Institutions Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Acorn Computers, Xerox
Alma mater University of Waterloo, Carnegie Mellon University
Known for WATFOR compiler, Mesa programming language
Notable awards J.W. Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation

James George "Jim" Mitchell (born 25 April 1943) is a Canadian computer scientist. He has worked on programming language design and implementation (FORTRAN, Mesa, Euclid, C++, Java), interactive programming systems, dynamic interpretation and compilation, document preparation systems, user interface design, distributed transactional file systems, and distributed, object-oriented operating systems. He has also worked on the design of hardware for computer graphics, high-level language execution, and audio input output.[1]


Mitchell was born in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada on April 25, 1943. He grew up in Cambridge, Ontario, and graduated with a degree in mathematics from the University of Waterloo in 1966. Mitchell began working with computers in 1962 while a student at the University of Waterloo. He and three other undergraduates developed a fast compiler for the Fortran programming language known as WATFOR, for IBM 7040 computer.[2] The project, initiated by Professor J. Wesley Graham, established Waterloo's early reputation as a centre for software and computer science research by assisting the first generation of computer science majors learn to program. He then graduated with a PhD in computer science from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1970.[3] His dissertation was titled Conversational programming LCC.[4]


From 1971-84 Mitchell was at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and eventually became a Xerox Fellow. In 1980–81, he was Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. He was head of research and development for Acorn Computers (U.K.), where he managed the development of the first ARM RISC chip and was President of the Acorn Research Centre in Palo Alto, California.

Mitchell joined Sun Microsystems in 1988 and was in charge of the Spring distributed, object-oriented operating system research in Sun Microsystems Laboratories and the SunSoft subsidiary. He became Vice President of Technology & Architecture in the JavaSoft Division and then Chief Technology Officer, Java Consumer & Embedded products. Later, he was Vice President in charge of Sun Microsystems Laboratories. Subsequently he became Principal Investigator on the DARPA/Sun HPCS (High Productivity Computing Systems) program. When Oracle Corporation acquired Sun Microsystems in 2010, he was appointed Vice President of Photonics, Interconnects, and Packaging at Oracle Labs.


In 1997, he was awarded the J.W. Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation from the University of Waterloo.[5]

In 2008 he was awarded the Fr. Norm Choate, CR, Distinguished Alumni Award from St. Jerome's University.

See also


  1. ^ "James Mitchell". The People at Oracle Labs. Oracle Corporation. Retrieved April 1, 2011. 
  2. ^ Shane Schick (2007-04-09). "U of Waterloo alumni look back on creator of Fortran variant: Wes Graham was critical to the development of popular WATFOR".  
  3. ^ "Computer innovator to visit". news release (University of Waterloo). May 26, 1997. Retrieved April 3, 2011. 
  4. ^ Conversational programming LCC : a reference manual for a language for conversational computing 
  5. ^ "Java: Where You Want to *Be* Tomorrow: Dr. Jim Mitchell, 1997 Recipient of the J.W. Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation". Oracle Corporation. May 30, 1997. Retrieved April 1, 2011.