Steve Blackburn

Professor and ACM Fellow

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CSIT Building 108, Office N232


+61 2 6125 4821

Computing Foundations


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My research focus is on programming language implementation and performance analysis. My interests include garbage collection, just-in-time compilation, computer architecture, operating systems, and security. I am a strong believer in shared research infrastructure, leading the DaCapo benchmark project and the MMTk memory management framework.


Garbage Collection
Garbage collection is a major focus of my research. I am particularly interested in novel garbage collection algorithms, the detailed performance analysis of garbage collection, the design of novel high performance garbage collection mechanisms, and the implementation and software engineering of high performance garbage collectors. I am also interested in architectural support for garage collection. I lead the development of the MMTk memory management framework.

Language Implementation
The context for most of my research has been language implementation. I am interested in the software engineering of high performance language runtimes, and also the social dimension of successfully creating large software artefacts within the research community.

Performance Analysis
I have a major interest in performance analysis. I am interested in performance analysis techniques, benchmark suites, and sound methodology. I lead the development of the DaCapo benchmark suite.


I am a professor of computer science at the Australian National University. My primary research focus is on programming language implementation. I have published in venues that specialize in programming languages, memory management, operating systems, virtual machines, computer architecture, compilers, performance analysis and software engineering. I am a Fellow of the ACM.

Activities & Awards

From 2014 to 2019 I served as Associate Dean in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, ANU (from 2016-2019 I was responsible for Diversity and Inclusion).

Editorial Roles
ACM Transactions on Programming Language Applications and Systems, (TOPLAS), Associate Editor, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.
ACM International Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation, (PLDI), Program Chair, 2015.
International Symposium on Memory Management, (ISMM), Program Chair, 2008.
International Conference on Virtual Execution Environments, (VEE), Program Co-Chair, 2013.
International Conference on Object Oriented Programming Systems Languages and Applications, (OOPSLA), Artifact Evaluation Co-Chair, 2013.
Memory System Performance, (MSP), Program Chair, 2004.

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The Australian National University acknowledges, celebrates and pays our respects to the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people of the Canberra region and to all First Nations Australians on whose traditional lands we meet and work, and whose cultures are among the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

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