In Memoriam: William H. Winsborough

William Hale Winsborough ( died unexpectedly on Thursday, August 18, 2011, in San Antonio. He was born on July 24, 1960, in Chicago, IL, and was 51 years old at his death. Many of us remember him for his outstanding contributions to the field of logic programming over the years. Two of his closest collaborators and friends, Sandro Etalle and Moreno Falaschi, have contributed the following thoughts to remember Will.

We (Moreno, Sandro) had the pleasure of meeting Will almost 20 years ago.
He visited Italy a few times and we bumped into each other in a number of occasions. At that time Will was working on techniques of analysis based on abstract interpretation for declarative languages.

As a researcher, Will was one of the guys you really like to work with: his technical expertise, expressed through the ability to find original solutions to problems of practical interest, representing them in an elegant formalism, was absolutely surprising. The link with real applications was also indispensable in his research.

But what was most surprising and perhaps one of the unique characteristics of Will was his humanity. Will was curious about life in general, and other cultures in particular. It was natural to speak, in the pauses between the technical discussions, about life, and about the cultural differences and similarities between our countries, building a friendship that went beyond the scientific collaboration. This friendship would remain even after the further differentiation of our scientific interests.

This humanity and his great intellectual and cultural curiosity combined with his eclectic scientific skills made it easier and more fun working with him. Perhaps this aspect of his character, along with the undoubted scientific capabilities, explain his numerous international scientific collaborations. With him there could be no cultural barriers.

Recently Will and Sandro’s ways crossed again, yielding an intense period of scientific cooperation, of friendship, of endless night skype sessions, of nice photos taken together.

It was really painful to know that Will had suddenly gone. It was too early, he had still lots of things to teach and research enthusiastically with his students, and we still had to go and visit him at his home, that he loved. There, we would discuss together as if we had met just the day before.

Will is survived by his beloved wife Maria de Fatima Winsborough, his parents, and his brother.

The beauty of your scientific contributions will be missed, but more importantly, dear Will, we will miss your friendship.

Moreno e Sandro

1 comment for “In Memoriam: William H. Winsborough

  1. October 3, 2011 at 9:34 am

    I’m shocked and saddened to hear of Will’s passing. I greatly enjoyed the conversations we had, both technical and non-technical, and learned a lot from him. He will be missed!

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