Our esteemed friend and colleague Gerald (Jerry) Popek passed away at age 61 on July 20th 2008.  Not only will we greatly miss Jerry’s dedication to education and research, we will miss his warm, engaging, and supportive presence.

Jerry founded the Laboratory for Advanced Systems Research (LASR) (originally called Ficus, and later, File Mobility Group), and served as the principal investigator on many important research projects funded by DARPA, NSF, and technology leaders such as Intel.

Jerry spent his undergraduate years studying nuclear engineering at New York University and graduate years at Harvard University, earning a Ph.D. in applied mathematics. During his 35 years as a faculty member in the Computer Science Department at UCLA, Jerry was known as an Internet pioneer and a leader in computer security, distributed Unix systems, file replication and mobile computing.   He was responsible for directing the Center for Experimental Research at UCLA and creating the first secure operating system kernel and one of the first distributed operating systems, Locus.  Additionally, while serving on the National Defense Science Board, he helped redirect the government’s networking efforts, moving the military toward Internet technology.  Jerry was also an excellent and inspirational teacher, pioneering the teaching of courses in distributed systems and computer security.  He excelled at preparing his graduate students for productive careers in both industry and academia.

Jerry’s accomplishments in industry were equally distinguished. As founder and chairman of the Locus Computing Corporation, Jerry directed the company’s growth as a significant supplier of technology and services to the Unix systems community.  In subsequent years, Jerry served as chief technology officer for Platinum Technology, CarsDirect.com, and most recently, United Online, where he developed and managed the company’s technology infrastructure, including oversight of an ISP service with millions of users.

Jerry leaves a rich legacy of graduates and undergraduates whom he taught, doctoral and masters students he advised, and seminal research he performed.  He will be remembered fondly by all who worked with him and knew him.

 Last updated: February 2009