IMAGE OF Charles Tom Wilkes

Charles Thomas Wilkes, Ph.D.

Associate Teaching Professor

Kennedy College of Sciences
Miner School of Computer & Information Sciences
Dandeneau 323


Operating Systems, Programming Language Design and Implementation, High Speed Networks, and Computer Science Education

Research Interests

Distributed Systems, Programming Language Design and Implementation for fault-tolerant computing, High Speed Networks


Ph.D.: Georgia Institute of Technology, 1987
M.S.: Information and Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1982
B.S.: Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology, (With Highest Honor, Cooperative Division), 1979


My name is Charles Thomas Wilkes (my preferred name is “Tom”). I am very fortunate to have rejoined the faculty of the UMass Lowell Miner School of Computer & Information Sciences in 2017, after being away for over 25 years, most of which time was spent in telecommunications industry research and development.

My Ph.D. degree is from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where my doctoral thesis topic was “Programming Methodologies for Resilience and Availability.” While a grad student at Georgia Tech, I worked on the “Clouds” distributed operating system, and designed & implemented a language for programming in Clouds. I also hold an M.S. in Information and Computer Science and a B.S. in Physics from Georgia Tech.

As an undergrad, I worked as a research assistant at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (under the auspices of Georgia Tech's Co-op Program). Between undergrad and graduate studies, I was an exchange student for a year at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (in German, it is called the “Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule” or “ETH”) in Zürich, Switzerland. While at the ETH, I had the privilege of taking classes taught by Niklaus Wirth (creator of the programming languages Pascal, Modula-2, and Oberon) and by Max Jammer (a student of Albert Einstein at the ETH, who has written many books about Einstein and the history of the Theory of Relativity).

After graduation from Georgia Tech, I joined the faculty of the Computer Science department at UML for four years. I taught graduate and undergraduate courses on Operating Systems, Programming Language Design, Computer Architecture, Distributed Operating Systems, and Systems Programming, as well as co-founding the Systems Research Group and serving as Principal Investigator or co-PI on several research grants.

After receiving an offer to move to the “dark side” in 1991, I joined Verizon Labs (then called GTE Labs) in Waltham, Massachusetts. Initially, I worked on distributed computing systems and “next-generation” applications. In 2001, I joined the Network Architecture group at Verizon Labs, which had responsibility for the long-term architecture of Verizon's data networks (including enterprise networks and FiOS); I was responsible for the Quality of Service (QoS) architecture evolution for these networks. In 2008, I moved to the newly-formed Ethernet Network Architecture and Design group, with responsibility for Verizon's Carrier Ethernet networks.

After taking early retirement from Verizon in March 2015, I returned to academia, joining the Computer Science faculty at Rivier University in Summer Semester 2015. At Rivier, I taught graduate courses on Computer Science Fundamentals, Operating Systems, and Computer Architecture, as well as a Special Topics course in Carrier Ethernet technology, and led the Professional Seminar project capstone course for several semesters.

At UMass-Lowell, I have been teaching Computing I, III, and IV; Organization of Programming Languages; Operating Systems; and Compiler Construction. I have also been active as a Faculty Fellow in the DifferenceMaker program, and as a Faculty Advocate for the River Hawk Scholars Academy.

Selected Publications

Over 30 publications in the areas of computer networking, distributed systems, fault-tolerant systems, distributed programming, and programming language design.

Selected Intellectual Property

Holder of three US patents in computer networking: 

  • Token-based crediting of network usage : US 9009309 · Issued Apr 14, 2015
  • Using dynamic burst size metric to mark data : US 8923330 · Issued Dec 30, 2014
  • Methods and apparatus for controlling bandwidth and service in a communications system : US 7573819 · Issued Aug 11, 2009