In Memoriam

Tobb Dell'Oro

Tobb and I did summer internships together, in the same office, at Schlumberger in Houston, TX, USA in July-August 1984. We worked in pair for John Hennessy and Pierre Escaron. Tobb was about to complete his B.S. in mechanical engineering at Cornell University, and he was hesitating to do an M.S. or an MBA afterward (he eventually did both). We worked together on the optimization of a measurement tool for oil pits. He did all the mechanical modeling of the tool. I analyzed his equations and programmed them in Fortran, varying 30+ parameters to optimize a certain force (my first experience with a Cray computer). In parallel, he developed several prototypes that empirically validated our theoretical results.

Tobb was very strong technically and more talented than me in mechanical engineering (he knew Timoshenko's textbooks almost by heart). But after so many years, what I remember of him is the person rather than his technical abilities. He was always smiling, had a nice personality and taught me a lot. I owe him (and a few others) my positive attitude to life. For him, a foreigner speaking slowly, with a strong accent, was not stupid but just learning a new language. He patiently explained to me how to survive in this wild environment called Texas, so different from the quiet French city that I was coming from.

Tobb was incredibly autonomous and self-confident for his age. Together, we visited several oil pits in Texas and Louisiana, which gave us a feel for how measurement tools were actually used in day-to-day business. On a weekend, we went to the sea with a friend of his. As we drove by the NASA Johnson Space Center, I suggested to stop and visit the exhibit. With a big laugh, Tobb argued that the day was too sunny to go to a museum and convinced us to go swimming and jet-skiing instead: he preferred to enjoy life hic et nunc. We exchanged letters for several years (he sent me a touching one when I got married) and lost each other's trail after a while. The first time I searched for his name with Google, I could not find him; the second time, I did find him but it was too late.

Tobb died on 26 December 2003 during the Bam earthquake in Iran.

Mario Jeckle

Mario and I began cooperating in May 2002 in the area of Web Services, Grid services, and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). As usual when researchers are geographically distributed (he was based in Germany, I was based in Switzerland), we frequently interacted by e-mail, occasionally also by phone and Skype, and actually met face-to-face only once, on 15-16 September 2002, at the 11th meeting of the IRTF Network Management Research Group in Osnabrück, Germany.

Together we developed the European Conference on Web Services (ECOWS), which he had launched the previous year under the name ICWS-Europe. By merging it with the Nordic Conference on Web Services (NCWS) and growing its Program Committee, we managed to give it a critical mass. ECOWS became a thriving IEEE conference and attracted prominent European researchers in Web Services and SOA. In 2012, it became the European Conference on Service-Oriented and Cloud Computing (ESOCC).

Mario was a very hard-working person, highly competent, dedicated to his job, open to new ideas, and always willing to help. In Europe, as both an academic and the representative of DaimlerChrysler at W3C, he managed to build a bridge between industry and academia in the area of Web Services and SOA. In late 2003, Mario, Welf Löwe and I began working together on a special issue of a journal. This special issue was eventually published by the World Wide Web journal in 2007. It was dedicated to Mario's memory, who did not see the outcome.

Mario died on 11 June 2004 in a car accident in Germany, while helping others — typical of him.