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Michael Lowell Roberts

Michael Lowell Roberts

Michael Lowell Roberts is a creative computer scientist that has produced breakthroughs within the domain of parallel and distributed programming. His distributed actor-based server platform, used to build the MMORPG Horizons, is the first elastic, distributed compute engine used for a production multiplayer game server, long before the word "cloud" and "shared-nothing" became a staple of the computer science lexicon.

He is the sole inventor of the first parallelized incremental garbage collector, an algorithm that eliminates performance penalties normally associated with garbage collection in multi-threaded environments. His collector is also an excellent example of how actor systems can applied to parallelize algorithms with complex state requirements-- an important area of programming that is still poorly understood by the software development industry at large.


  • Developer, Ironclad Team (Microsoft Research, 2014-present)
  • Developer, Orleans Team (Microsoft Research, 2013-2014)
  • Developer, unannounced MMOG title (Microsoft Studios, 2013)
  • Developer, Battlestar Galactica Online (Bigpoint, 2012)
  • Developer & Chinese Development Team Liaison, unannounced MMORPG title (Tencent Boston, 2010-2011)
  • Developer & Lead Programmer, Hellgate: London (Redbana US, 2007-2010)
  • Developer, Gods & Heroes (Perpetual Entertainment, 2006)
  • Architect, Horizons: Empire of Istaria (Artifact Entertainment, 2000-2006)
  • Chris Hawblitzel, Jon Howell, Manos Kapritsos, Jacob R. Lorch, Bryan Parno, Michael L. Roberts, Srinath Setty, and Brian Zill, IronFleet: Proving Practical Distributed Systems Correct, in Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP), ACM – Association for Computing Machinery, 5 October 2015.
  • Sergey Bykov, Gabriel Kliot, Michael Roberts, and Jorgen Thelin, Orleans Best Practices, Microsoft Research, May 2014.


  • US Patent 8,200,718, Parallelized Incremental Garbage Collector, Michael L. Roberts, issued June 12, 2012.