Robin Milner


Milner was born in Yealmpton, near Plymouth, England into a military family. He was awarded a scholarship to Eton College in 1947, and subsequently served in the Royal Engineers, attaining the rank of Second Lieutenant. He then enrolled at King’s College, Cambridge, graduating in 1957. Milner first worked as a schoolteacher then as a programmer at Ferranti, before entering academia at City University, London, then Swansea University, Stanford University, and from 1973 at the University of Edinburgh, where he was a co-founder of the Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science (LFCS). He returned to Cambridge as the head of the Computer Laboratory in 1995 from which he eventually stepped down, although he was still at the laboratory. From 2009, Milner was a SICSA Advanced Research Fellow and held (part-time) the Chair of Computer Science at the University of Edinburgh.


Milner is generally regarded as having made three major contributions to computer science. He developed LCF, one of the first tools forautomated theorem proving. The language he developed for LCF, ML, was the first language with polymorphic type inference and type-safeexception handling. In a very different area, Milner also developed a theoretical framework for analyzing concurrent systems, the calculus of communicating systems (CCS), and its successor, the pi-calculus. At the time of his death, he was working on bigraphs, a formalism for ubiquitous computing subsuming CCS and the pi-calculus.