Joseph Goguen

Joseph Amadee Goguen (/ˈɡɡən/ GOH-gən; June 28, 1941 – July 3, 2006) was a US computer scientist. He was professor of Computer Science at the University of California and University of Oxford and held research positions at IBM and SRI International.

Joseph A. Goguen
Joseph Goguen in 2004
Born(1941-06-28)June 28, 1941
DiedJuly 3, 2006(2006-07-03) (aged 65)
Alma materHarvard University
University of California, Berkeley
Known forGoguen categories
Formal specification
Algebraic semantics
Goguen categories
Consciousness studies
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Berkeley
University of Chicago
IBM Research
University of California, Los Angeles
SRI International
University of Oxford
University of California, San Diego
Doctoral advisorLotfi Zadeh

Goguen's work was one of the earliest approaches to the algebraic characterisation of abstract data types and he originated and helped develop the OBJ family of programming languages.[1][2] He was author of A Categorical Manifesto and founder[3] and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Consciousness Studies. His development of institution theory impacted the field of universal logic.[4][5] Standard implication in product fuzzy logic is often called "Goguen implication".[6] Goguen categories are named after him.[7][8]

Education and academic career

Goguen received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University in 1963, and his PhD in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1968, where he was a student of the founder of fuzzy set theory Lotfi Zadeh.[9]

He taught at UC Berkeley, the University of Chicago and University of California, Los Angeles, where he was a full professor of computer science.[9][10][11] He held a Research Fellowship in the Mathematical Sciences at the IBM Watson Research Center, where he organised the "ADJ" group.[10] He also visited the University of Edinburgh in Scotland on three Senior Visiting Fellowships.[3]

From 1979 to 1988, Goguen worked at SRI International in Menlo Park, California. From 1988 to 1996, he was a professor at the Oxford University Computing Laboratory (now the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford) in England and a Fellow at St Anne's College, Oxford.[9] In 1996 he became professor of Computer Science at the University of California, San Diego.[9]

Research areas

Goguen's research interests included category theory (a branch of mathematics), software engineering, fuzzy logic, algebraic semantics, user interface design, algebraic semiotics, and the social and ethical aspects of science and technology.

Lotfi Zadeh viewed Goguen's 1968 approach to "The Logic of Inexact Concepts" as seminal in the field of fuzzy logic.[9] Goguen's PhD dissertation "Categories of fuzzy sets"[12] was the first work to apply category theory to fuzzy logic, and led to Goguen categories being named after him.[7][8]

Goguen's research in the 1970s was one of the earliest approaches to the characterisation of computational automata from a categorical perspective.[1] Goguen's research with Thatcher, Wagner and Wright (also in the 1970s) was one of the earliest works to formalise the algebraic basis for data abstraction.[2]

In the early 1990s Goguen and Rod Burstall developed the theory of institutions, a category-theoretic description of logical systems in computer science.[13] Institution theory impacted the development of universal logic and became one of its most studied aspects.[14] The term "Carnapian Goguenism" is used to refer to the application of institutions to ontologies.[15]

Goguen also studied the philosophy of computation and information, formal methods (especially hidden algebra and theorem proving), and relational and functional programming. He wrote a retrospective of his work and its context, Tossing Algebraic Flowers Down the Great Divide.[16]

Personal views

Goguen was a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. Specifically, since the early 1970s he was a student of Chögyam Trungpa and, after his death in 1986, of his son Sakyong Mipham.[3] During the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was a faculty member of the science program at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.


  • Goguen, Joseph A., Algebraic Semantics of Imperative Programs, MIT Press (1996). ISBN 978-0262071727.
  • Goguen, Joseph A., and Malcolm, Grant, Software Engineering with OBJ, Springer (2000). ISBN 978-1441949653.
  • Kokichi Futatsugi et al., Algebra, Meaning, and Computation: Essays Dedicated to Joseph A. Goguen, Springer (2006). ISBN 978-3540354628.

Selected publications

  • Goguen, J.A., "L-fuzzy sets", Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications 18 (1): 145–174 (1967).
  • Goguen, J.A., "The logic of inexact concepts", Synthese 19 (3/4): 325–373 (1969).
  • Goguen, J.A., and J. Thatcher. "Initial algebra semantics", in Proceedings, Fifteenth Symposium on Switching and Automata Theory, IEEE, pages 63-77 (1974).
  • Goguen, J.A., J. Thatcher, and E. Wagner. "An initial algebra approach to the specification, correctness and implementation of abstract data types", in Current Trends in Programming Methodology, vol. IV: Data Structuring, Raymond Yeh (Ed.), Prentice Hall, pp. 80–149 (1978).
  • Goguen, J.A., "A Categorical Manifesto", Mathematical Structures in Computer Science 1 (1): 49–67 (1991).
  • Goguen, J.A. (Ed.), Art and the Brain, Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (6/7) (1999).

See also


  1. Bart Jacobs, "A Bialgebraic Review of Regular Expressions, Deterministic Automata and Languages", in Algebra, Meaning, and Computation, Springer, pp. 375 (2006). ISBN 978-3540354628.
  2. V. S. Alagar, "Specification of Software Systems", Springer, pp. 216 (1999). ISBN 978-0387984308.
  3. Burstall R., "My friend Joseph Goguen", in Goguen Festschrift, K. Futatsugi et al. (Eds.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science 4060, Springer, pp. 25–30 (2006).
  4. Razvan Diaconescu, "Three decades of institution theory", in Universal Logic: An Anthology, Jean-Yves Béziau (Ed.), Springer, pp. 309–322 (2012). ISBN 978-3-0346-0144-3.
  5. T. Mossakowski, J. A. Goguen, R. Diaconescu, and A. Tarlecki, "What is a Logic?", in Jean-Yves Beziau (Ed.), Logica Universalis: Towards a General Theory of Logic, Birkhäuser, Basel, pp. 113–133 (2005). 2nd Edition (2007).
  6. Hájek P., Metamathematics of Fuzzy Logic, Kluwer, Dordrecht, sect. 2.1 (1998). ISBN 0-7923-5238-6.
  7. Michael Winter, "Goguen Categories: A Categorical Approach to L-fuzzy Relations", Springer (2007). ISBN 9781402061639.
  8. Michael Winter, "Representation theory of Goguen categories", Fuzzy Sets and Systems 138 (1): 85–126 (2003).
  9. Zadeh L.A., "Joseph Amadee Goguen (1941–2006): A personal tribute", Fuzzy Sets and Systems 158: 809–810 (2007). doi:10.1016/j.fss.2007.01.001.
  10. Goguen, J.A., "Memories of ADJ: Computer Science and Engineering", Bulletin of the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science 36: 96–102 (1989).
  11. Joseph Goguen (October 23, 2005). "Brief Biography of Joseph Goguen". University of California, San Diego. Retrieved September 26, 2011.
  12. J. A. Goguen, "Categories of fuzzy sets: Applications of non-Cantorian set theory", PhD Thesis, University of California, Berkeley (1968).
  13. J. A. Goguen and R. M. Burstall, "Institutions: Abstract Model Theory for Specification and Programming", Journal of the ACM 39: 95–146 (1992).
  14. Răzvan Diaconesc, "From Universal Logic to Computer Science, and Back" in Theoretical Aspects of Computing (ICTAC '14), Lecture Notes in Computer Science 8687, Springer, pp. 1–16 (2014).
  15. Oliver Kutz, Till Mossakowski, and Dominik Lücke, "Carnap, Goguen, and the Hyperontologies" Logica Universalis 4 (2): 255–333 (2010).
  16. Goguen, J. A., "Tossing Algebraic Flowers Down the Great Divide", University of California, San Diego.
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