SPEC remembers Alan Adamson

The computer performance benchmarking community mourns the loss of Alan Adamson, a member of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC) Board of Directors. Alan died in his sleep the night of October 31, 2012.

Alan Adamson came to SPEC as an IBM representative specializing in compiler and Java performance. Within a short period of time, he became vitally involved in almost every aspect of SPEC work. After his retirement from IBM in 2009, he continued to work unpaid for a wide range of SPEC activities.

Alan served as chair of the Java and OSG Steering Committees. He helped establish and did much of the hard work to create the SPEC Research Group and the ICPE series of joint conferences with ACM.

At the time of his death, he served as the SPEC Board’s inspector of elections, organizing the election process for the 2013 SPEC annual meeting. He was also a supporting contributor to the OSG Power Committee.

Alan was the closest thing to SPEC's official photographer, and a wise adviser for technical, procedural and moral issues. SPEC representatives from around the world will miss him as a friend and colleague. He is survived by his wife Melitta, his mother, and many siblings, nephews, nieces and cousins.

The winter quiet has been broken. In London earlier in the week, I thought I had a fleeting glimpse of a red-winged blackbird. So this morning I headed for the lake. Within five seconds of leaving the car, that characteristic trill could be heard. They're back!

- Alan Adamson, 2011

Every time I hear him singing makes me feel like Spring inside. I have long loved this song... and it is exactly how I feel; when I start hearing those suckers at Ashbridge's Bay every year, I know spring is back.

- Alan Adamson, 2012

Red-Winged Blackbird - David Francey


You may add your own remembrance of Alan Adamson to be posted to this site.

I am shocked and saddened by Alanís untimely death. Alan was my introduction to SPEC. He and I worked very closely on the organization of the first joint conference between SPEC and WOSP, ICPE2010. He was instrumental in laying the groundwork for our ongoing working relationship. Organizing the conference with him was a joy. Dianne Rice, SPECís operations manager, was convinced that he and I had known each other and worked together for years! In fact, we only met for the first time at the conference in San Jose. I shall miss him greatly.

Dr. André B. Bondi

Alan was a fixture at SPECpower meetings. Always measured and temperate, Alan also served as a font of enthusiasm for our craft. Alan loved working with SPEC and his love was contagious. He was our sage.

Our meetings will never be the same without him.

Van Smith

Alan was so full of life that it is hard to imagine that he is not with us anymore. He was always such a hard worker, always wanting to squeeze in just one more thing in his schedule and help yet another committee in getting their benchmark out or another one in cleaning up their Run Rules. I hope that whichever land he has passed to now has no benchmarks to crank and no pesky run rules to clarify. Moreover, I hope he is capturing the everlasting moments of serenity exactly as he did here. Rest in peace, friend, philosopher and guide.

Rema Hariharan

Many of us were glad to call Alan friend and grateful to call him colleague. I always enjoyed discussing topics with him from computer performance to arts, politics, science, and religion; and never more so than when we disagreed, which was often. Alan was always gracious and respectful in his disagreement, and he always made you stop and think. It's still hard to realize that I won't see him soon, and that I can't call him for advice. I'm glad we were able to see him in Seattle last month, and work and talk and share a beer.

Walter Bays

Very saddened to hear this — I was on the same table with him at a SPEC meeting dinner and it was fun to listen to him. And I have seen his various emails through the years making me recognize all the different contributions he made towards the SPEC community.

Dr. Lizy John