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Flaviu Cristian, Professor and Scientist, Dies at Age 48

(May 4, 1999—San Diego, Calif.) Dr. Flaviu Cristian, a world expert in the area of dependable computer systems, passed away at his Encinitas home on Tuesday, April 27 after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Dr. Cristian was born in Romania in 1951, and moved to France in 1971 to study computer science. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Grenoble, France in 1979, where he carried out research in operating systems and programming methodology. He went on to the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK and worked in the area of specification, design, and verification of fault-tolerant software. Dr. Cristian joined IBM Almaden Research Center in 1982. While at IBM, he received the Corporate Award, IBM’s highest technical award, for his work on the Advanced Automation System for air traffic control.

Dr. Cristian subsequently joined UC San Diego as professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in 1991. He was elected a Fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers in 1998 for his contributions to the theory and practice of dependable systems.

Dr. Cristian’s work on the design and analysis of fault-tolerant distributed systems was fundamental, and he was widely regarded as one of the technical leaders in his field. The impact of his work was felt both in the theory and in the practice of fault-tolerance, and he was a regular consultant to leading software companies.

He continued to be active in his work and his advising of students throughout his illness. Dr. Cristian is survived by his wife, Dorina, and his son, Nicholas. There is no public memorial service planned.

Dr. Cristian was also interested in poetry, and turned to it as a form of therapy when diagnosed with cancer. The following are two poems he wrote during the last few years. They were published in his book by Crossroads, copyright 1998, Leucadia, Calif. (reproduced with permission).


I would like
to understand
said the novice
beyond day
and night
what is
what is

Stop asking
replied the master
and you will see
how you will


Tell me what is the reason
for our birth?
Why do we have to die?
What is the meaning of this life
that passes like a shooting star?

I will explain everything in detail;
breathe the salty air of the ocean
feel the beach under your feet
listen to the roar of the waves
watch the setting sun

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