Prior to joining Google, he was a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle. He joined the faculty there in 1991. His research focused on programming languages, optimizing compilers, and object-oriented systems.
He received his S.B. degree from MIT in 1986, and his Ph.D. degree from Stanford in 1992, both in Computer Science.
He has won a number of awards, including the 2011 Dahl-Nygaard Senior Prize and several "best paper" awards.