James H. Waldo

James H. Waldo

  • Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science
  • Chief Technology Officer


Jim Waldo is the Chief Technology Officer for the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where he is also a Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science, teaching courses in distributed systems and privacy. He also teaches technology policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Jim has designed clouds at VMware, and was a Distinguished Engineer with Sun Microsystems Laboratories, where he investigated next-generation large-scale distributed systems. His last project at Sun Labs was Darkstar. Prior to (re)joining Sun Labs, he was the lead architect for Jini, a distributed programming system based on Java.

While at Sun, Jim did research and product development in the areas of on-line games and virtual worlds, medical sensing, object-oriented programming and systems, distributed computing, and user environments. He was also involved in some of the early design and development of the Java programming language and environment.

Before joining Sun, Jim spent eight years at Apollo Computer and Hewlett Packard working in the areas of distributed object systems, user interfaces, class libraries, text and internationalization. While at HP, he led the design and development of the first Object Request Broker, and was instrumental in getting that technology incorporated into the first OMG CORBA specification.

Jim edited the book The Evolution of C++: Language Design in the Marketplace of Ideas (MIT Press), co-edited Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age (National Academies Press), and was one of the authors of The Jini Specification (Addison Wesley). More recently, he authored Java: The Good Parts.

He is currently a member of the editorial boards of Queue magazine and the Communication of the ACM. He also holds over 50 patents.

Jim received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst). He also holds M.A. degrees in both linguistics and philosophy from the University of Utah.

Contact Information

Office:Maxwell Dworkin 127
Office Phone:(617) 496-0788
Assistant:Susan Virginia Welby
Assistant Office:Maxwell Dworkin 353
Assistant Phone:(617) 496-7592
Research Mgr: Rady M. Rogers

Primary Teaching Area

Positions & Employment

Harvard University
  • Present: Chief Technical Officer

Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

  • Present: Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science

VMWare, Inc.

  • 2010 : Senior Staff Engineer

Sun Microsystems, Inc.

  • 1992-2010 : Distinguished Engineer

Apollo Computer/Hewlett Packard

  • 1985-1992

Pixel Computer

  • 1984-1985 

VI Corp

  • 1980-1984

Hampshire College

  • 1979-1980