Thompson taught graduate database and AI at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, from 1977 to 1981.
He joined the Central Research Laboratory at Texas Instruments in 1981 and was elected Senior Member of Technical Staff in 1985. At TI, he co-invented menu-based natural language interfaces, deployed in the IONDS G/AIT and DARPA/USN FRESH programs in the mid-1980s; productized an extensible object-relational DBMS on the TI Explorer Lisp Machine in 1985; contributed to and led TI research projects in hypermedia, engineering databases, and object-oriented databases in 1984 to 1990; and developed a content authoring system for Telaction Interactive Television Electronic Mall, a system that was field tested in Chicago in 1988. From 1990 to 1995 Thompson was co-principal investigator and co-architect with David Wells on the DARPA Open OODB, a project that developed an extensible, component-based OODB-RDBMS supporting C++ and Common Lisp. The system was deployed at 25 government approved alpha sites. Through Thompson's efforts, the project's object-bus-and-services architecture had an important influence on characterizing OODBs (via the X3/SPARC/DBSSG OODB Task Group's Reference Model on Object Data Management) as well as on the computing industry move to component software, particularly the Object Management Group (OMG) Object Management Architecture (OMA) Reference Model (co-author, 1990) and Object Services Architecture (OSA) (editor, 1992).
In 1995 Thompson, David Wells, and Steve Ford founded Object Services and Consulting, Inc. (OBJS). Thompson served as principal investigator on the DARPA IC&V contract Scaling Object Services Architectures to the Internet (1995-1998) and the DARPA CoABS contract Agility: Agent -Ility Architecture (1998-2002) and is currently contributing to the DARPA Ultra*Log contract Msg*Log: Reliable Messaging for Logistics Planning (2001-2003) and the AFRL SBIR II subcontract Agent Supported Information Visualization (2001-2003). He provided architectural consulting and review for the $60M DARPA TRP National Industrial Information Infrastructure Protocols (NIIIP) Consortium (1995-1997), the MCC Object Infrastructure Project (OIP) (1996-1998), and the DARPA ISO Advanced Information Technology Services (AITS) Architecture (1997-1998). He is a nationally recognized leader in object and agent technology standards, co-chair of the OMG Internet Platform Special Interest Group (1995-2001), chartered to merge the OMG OMA architecture with Internet and Web standards to enable large-scale Internet-enabled object-based distributed computing, and also co-chair of the OMG Agent Platform Special Interest Group (1998-2001), chartered to meld distributed object and multi-agent systems.
In July 2003, Thompson accepted a position as Professor and Acxiom Database Chair in Engineering at the University of Arkansas located in Fayetteville. He is teaching AI, DBMS, software engineering, and Capstone courses and is leading a team of faculty and graduate students to solve data grid-related problems for Acxiom.
Thompson has been principal investigator on seven IR&D projects (estimated $6.5M) and six research contracts ($11.9M dollars), and has contributed to winning an addition $151M in contracts. Thompson holds six patents and one pending, is an IEEE Senior Member and an ACM member, has published over 40 papers in books, journals and conferences, and has organized several workshops including the Application Integration Architectures Workshop (1993) which convened principals from 20+ standards groups on the theme of standards convergence for enterprise computing, the Joint W3C/OMG Workshop on Distributed Objects and Mobile Code (1996), and the OMG-DARPA Workshop on Compositional Software Architectures (1998). He was a reviewer for the State of Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (1995), and served on the DARPA ISO Infrastructure Panel (1995) and the DARPA Dynamic Database Panel II (1997).
Thompson grew up in Monterey, California; collected marbles, lizards,
stamps, and coins; spent summers traveling in England and Italy as a teenager;
came to Texas for graduate studies; fell in love with Jan, a native of
New Braunfels; lived mostly in Texas, some in Tennessee, and now in Fayetteville,
Arkansas. He has two daughters, Jennifer,
a computer science BS graduate of Texas A&M married to Mike Duncan
and both working at Motorola in Fort Worth while starting a web business
Five Star Fido, and Kathryn,
a recent biophysics and math graduate of Centenary
College of Louisiana, now in graduate school at Scripps
Research Institute in La Jolla, California, as well as a lazy orange
cat named Gretchen. His hobbies include family history, travel and
hiking, reading about archaeology, and thinking about collecting Classics
Illustrated Comic Books and writing children's stories.