John R. Ellis: Professional



John is currently Executive Vice President of Turn. He has over 25 years of experience in startups and research, in entrepreneurial, managerial, and technical roles.

Most recently, John was SVP Engineering and Operations for AltaVista and helped turn around the Web-search pioneer, leading to a successful $140M acquisition by Overture and then Yahoo. He hired industry technical leaders and led the team in greatly improving AltaVista’s search products, once again innovating in Web search, and gaining parity with industry-leading Google.

Prior to AltaVista, John was an Entrepreneur in Residence at New Enterprise Associates, helping to launch a storage startup. In 1996, he co-founded Post Communications, the first email-marketing company based on relationship marketing. As VP of Technology, he helped grow Post to 150 employees, 70 clients, and 3 terabytes of managed customer data, enabling an acquisition by Netcentives for $380 million. At Open Market, he led a team building a first-generation content-push product for Time-Warner.

John spent over 15 years at Xerox PARC, Digital Equipment's Systems Research Center, and Yale University, researching compilation for VLIWs, programming environments, distributed computing, garbage collection, and wireless PDAs, and receiving two patents in programming-language implementation. He received a BSE from Princeton University and a PhD from Yale University, and his thesis won the 1985 Association for Computing Machinery Best Dissertation Award and was published by MIT Press.


Past Activities

Assistant editor of ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems, 1993-1995.

Invited tutorial on "A Safe Subset of C++", SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation, June '95.

Invited talk on "Commercializing Garbage Collection", Winter '94 Usenix Conference.

Editorial advisor for the Software Engineering Institute's Series in Software Engineering, published by Addison-Wesley. 1988-1995.

Ski instructor, PSIA Level III, Squaw Valley, 1987-1994.


Selected Publications

The PARCTab ubiquitous computing experiment, with Roy Want, Bill Schilit, Norman Adams, Rich Gold, Karin Petersen, David Goldberg, Mark Weiser. Technical Report CSL-95-1, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, March 1995.

Safe, efficient garbage collection for C++, with David L. Detlefs. DEC Systems Research Center Report 102, June 1993. A shorter version is in Proceedings of the 1994 USENIX C++ Conference, April 1994.

Bridges: Tools to extend the Vesta configuration management system, with Mark. R. Brown. DEC Systems Research Center Report 108, June 1993.

Fast mutual exclusion for uniprocessors, with B.N. Bershad, D.D. Redell. Fifth International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems, October 1992.

Real-time concurrent collection on stock multi-processors, with Andrew W. Appel, Kai Li. SIGPLAN '88 Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation.

Bulldog: A Compiler for VLIW Architectures. PhD thesis, Yale University, 1985. Published by MIT Press, 1986 (out of print). Available from Dissertation Express.