Mozilla Grants 60K to CCIS Student to Fund Research

daveherman_portraitFifth-year PhD student Dave Herman has made his mark by becoming the only graduate student to sit on the ECMAScript committee, which is responsible for setting standards that make it possible for browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera to interpret Web pages in the same way. Herman was recruited by the Mozilla Foundation, which makes the Web browser Firefox, and invited to join this leading standards committee because of the novel work he had done constructing a mathematical model for JavaScript, a language that is incorporated into every Web browser in the world.

“Dave’s appointment to the ECMAScript committee is very important because it shows that practitioners have recognized the need to use the kind of formal models we have been working on.” says Herman’s adviser Professor Mitchell Wand.

Herman has been given a $60,000 grant by Mozilla to fund his research for the upcoming academic year. He’s working on developing a mathematical model of the new JavaScript that is easier to understand and more accessible to real-world programmers than the previous language definition. “It’s the theoretical meets the practical,” says Herman. “The whole goal is to be able to marry those two.”