Robert Watson
Robert N Watson March 2008.jpg
Watson in 2008
Born (1977-05-03) 3 May 1977 (age 45)
Harrow, London
Alma materCarnegie Mellon University
Wolfson College, Cambridge
Known forcontributions to FreeBSD, TrustedBSD, OpenBSM
Scientific career
FieldsComputer security[1]
Operating systems[2][3]
Network stacks
Programming languages
Computer architecture[4][5]
InstitutionsCambridge Computer Laboratory
University of Cambridge
St John's College, Cambridge
ThesisNew approaches to operating system security extensibility (2011)
Doctoral advisorRoss Anderson

Robert Nicholas Maxwell Watson (born 3 May 1977) is a FreeBSD developer, and founder of the TrustedBSD Project.[6] He is currently employed as a Professor of Systems, Security, and Architecture in the Security Research Group at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory.[7][8][9][10]


Watson graduated in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University and has attained a PhD from University of Cambridge. As well as Cambridge, he has worked at the National Institutes of Health, Carnegie Mellon University, Trusted Information Systems, Network Associates, McAfee, and SPARTA. He obtained a PhD in computer security[11] from the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, supervised by Ross Anderson and sponsored by Google.[11]


Watson's work has been supported by DARPA, Apple Computer, the Navy, and other US government agencies. His main research interests are network security and operating system security. His main open source software contributions include his work in developing the multi-threaded and multi-processor FreeBSD network stack, the TrustedBSD project, and OpenBSM. His writing has been featured in forums such as ACM's Queue Magazine,[12] the USENIX Annual Technical Conference, BSDCon, and a Slashdot interview.[13] He was also a FreeBSD Core Team member from 2000 to 2012.[14] Watson is coauthor of the standard textbook The Design and Implementation of the FreeBSD Operating System (2nd ed., 2015) by Marshall Kirk McKusick.[15]


  1. ^ Murphy, S.; Lewis, E.; Puga, R.; Watson, R.; Yee, R. (2001). "Strong security for active networks". 2001 IEEE Open Architectures and Network Programming Proceedings. OPENARCH 2001 (Cat. No.01EX484). p. 63. doi:10.1109/OPNARC.2001.916839. ISBN 0-7803-7064-3.
  2. ^ Watson, R. N. M.; Anderson, J.; Laurie, B.; Kennaway, K. (2012). "A taste of Capsicum". Communications of the ACM. 55 (3): 97. doi:10.1145/2093548.2093572. S2CID 260686.
  3. ^ Watson, R. N. M. (2013). "A decade of OS access-control extensibility". Communications of the ACM. 56 (2): 52–63. doi:10.1145/2408776.2408792. S2CID 1739724.
  4. ^ Robert Watson publications indexed by Google Scholar
  5. ^ Clayton, R.; Murdoch, S. J.; Watson, R. N. M. (2006). "Ignoring the Great Firewall of China". Privacy Enhancing Technologies. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Vol. 4258. p. 20. CiteSeerX doi:10.1007/11957454_2. ISBN 978-3-540-68790-0.
  6. ^ FreeBSD Week: Interview with Robert Watson. OS News, 29 January 2002
  7. ^ Announcement of Professorship
  8. ^ Robert Watson's ACM author page
  9. ^ Robert N. M. Watson at DBLP Bibliography Server Edit this at Wikidata
  10. ^ Robert Watson publications indexed by Microsoft Academic
  11. ^ a b Watson, Robert Nicholas Maxwell (2011). New approaches to operating system security extensibility (PDF) (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge.
  12. ^ Kamp, P. H.; Watson, R. (2004). "Building Systems to Be Shared, Securely". Queue. 2 (5): 42. doi:10.1145/1016998.1017001.
  13. ^ Robert Watson on FreeBSD and TrustedBSD, Slashdot, 18 January 2001
  14. ^ FreeBSD Core Team Alumni, 20 July 2012
  15. ^ McKusick, Marshall; Neville-Neil, George; Watson, Robert (2014). Design and implementation of the freebsd operating system (PDF) (2nd ed.). [S.l.]: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 9780321968975. Retrieved 13 May 2015.