Pioneers of Modern Computer Architecture Receive ACM A.M. Turing Award

March 21, 2018

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, today named John L. Hennessy, former President of Stanford University, and David A. Patterson, retired Professor of the University of California, Berkeley, recipients of the 2017 ACM A.M. Turing Award for pioneering a systematic, quantitative approach to the design and evaluation of computer architectures with enduring impact on the microprocessor industry. Hennessy and Patterson created a systematic and quantitative approach to designing faster, lower power, and reduced instruction set computer (RISC) microprocessors. Their approach led to lasting and repeatable principles that generations of architects have used for many projects in academia and industry. Today, 99% of the more than 16 billion microprocessors produced annually are RISC processors, and are found in nearly all smartphones, tablets, and the billions of embedded devices that comprise the Internet of Things (IoT).

Patterson and Hennessy. Image from the Patterson Hennessy text book, photo by Shane Harvey.

Hennessy and Patterson codified their insights in a very influential book, Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, now in its sixth edition, reaching generations of engineers and scientists who have adopted and further developed their ideas. Their work underpins our ability to model and analyze the architectures of new processors, greatly accelerating advances in microprocessor design.

The ACM Turing Award, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing,” carries a $1 million prize, with financial support provided by Google, Inc. It is named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing. Hennessy and Patterson will formally receive the 2017 ACM A.M. Turing Award at the ACM’s annual awards banquet on Saturday, June 23, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

“ACM initiated the Turing Award in 1966 to recognize contributions of lasting and major technical importance to the computing field,” said ACM President Vicki L. Hanson. “The work of Hennessy and Patterson certainly exemplifies this standard. Their contributions to energy-efficient RISC-based processors have helped make possible the mobile and IoT revolutions. At the same time, their seminal textbook has advanced the pace of innovation across the industry over the past 25 years by influencing generations of engineers and computer designers.”

Attesting to the impact of Hennessy and Patterson’s work is the assessment of Bill Gates, principal founder of Microsoft Corporation, that their contributions “have proven to be fundamental to the very foundation upon which an entire industry flourished.”

Development of MIPS and SPARC 

While the idea of reduced complexity architecture had been explored since the 1960s—most notably in the IBM 801 project—the work that Hennessy and Patterson led, at Stanford and Berkeley respectively, is credited with firmly establishing the feasibility of the RISC approach, popularizing its concepts, and introducing it to academia and industry. The RISC approach differed from the prevailing complex instruction set computer (CISC) computers of the time in that it required a small set of simple and general instructions (functions a computer must perform), requiring fewer transistors than complex instruction sets and reducing the amount of work a computer must perform.

Patterson’s Berkeley team, which coined the term RISC, built and demonstrated their RISC-1 processor in 1982. With 44,000 transistors, the RISC-1 prototype outperformed a conventional CISC design that used 100,000 transistors. Hennessy co-founded MIPS Computer Systems Inc. in 1984 to commercialize the Stanford team’s work. Later, the Berkeley team’s work was commercialized by Sun Microsystems in its SPARC microarchitecture.

Despite initial skepticism of RISC by many computer architects, the success of the MIPS and SPARC entrepreneurial efforts, the lower production costs of RISC designs, as well as more research advances, led to wider acceptance of RISC. By the mid-1990s, RISC microprocessors were dominant throughout the field.

Groundbreaking Textbook

Hennessy and Patterson presented new scientifically-based methodologies in their 1990 textbook Computer Architecture: a Quantitative Approach. The book has influenced generations of engineers and, through its dissemination of key ideas to the computer architecture community, is credited with significantly increasing the pace of advances in microprocessor design. In Computer Architecture, Hennessy and Patterson encouraged architects to carefully optimize their systems to allow for the differing costs of memory and computation. Their work also enabled a shift from seeking raw performance to designing architectures that take into account issues such as energy usage, heat dissipation, and off-chip communication. The book was groundbreaking in that it was the first text of its kind to provide an analytical and scientific framework, as well as methodologies and evaluation tools for engineers and designers to evaluate the net value of microprocessor design.

Biographical Background

John L. Hennessy

John L. Hennessy was President of Stanford University from 2000 to 2016. He is Director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program at Stanford, a member of the Board of Cisco Systems and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Chairman of the Board of Alphabet Inc. Hennessy earned his Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Villanova University and his Master’s and doctoral degrees in computer science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Hennessy’s numerous honors include the IEEE Medal of Honor, the ACM-IEEE CS Eckert-Mauchly Award (with Patterson), the IEEE John von Neumann Medal (with Patterson), the Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award, and the Founders Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Hennessy is a Fellow of ACM and IEEE, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

David A. Patterson

David A. Patterson is a Distinguished Engineer at Google and serves as Vice Chair of the Board of the RISC-V Foundation, which offers an open free instruction set architecture with the aim to enable a new era of processor innovation through open standard collaboration. Patterson was Professor of Computer Science at UC, Berkeley from 1976 to 2016. He received his Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral degrees in computer science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Patterson’s numerous honors include the IEEE John von Neumann Medal (with Hennessy), the ACM-IEEE CS Eckert-Mauchly Award (with Hennessy), the Richard A. Tapia Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science, and Diversifying Computing, and the ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award. Patterson served as ACM President from 2004 to 2006. He is a Fellow of ACM, AAAS and IEEE, and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences.

About the ACM A.M. Turing Award

The A.M. Turing Award was named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing, and who was a key contributor to the Allied cryptanalysis of the Enigma cipher during World War II. Since its inception in 1966, the Turing Award has honored the computer scientists and engineers who created the systems and underlying theoretical foundations that have propelled the information technology industry.

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.


Source: ACM

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Automated Optimization Boosts ResNet50 Performance by 1.77x on Intel CPUs

October 23, 2018

From supercomputers to cell phones, every system and software device in our digital panoply has a growing number of settings that, if not optimized, constrain performance, wasting precious cycles and watts. In the f Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

South Africa CHPC: Home Grown Dynasty

October 22, 2018

Before the build up to the final event in the 2018 Student Cluster Competition season (the SC18 competition in Dallas), I want to take a moment to write about one of the great inspirational stories of these competitions. Read more…

By Dan Olds

NSF Launches Quantum Computing Faculty Fellows Program

October 22, 2018

Efforts to expand quantum computing research capacity continue to accelerate. The National Science Foundation today announced a Quantum Computing & Information Science Faculty Fellows (QCIS-FF) program aimed at devel Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

One Small Step Toward Mars: One Giant Leap for Supercomputing

Since the days of the Space Race between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union, we have continually sought ways to perform experiments in space. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Join IBM at SC18 and Learn to Harness the Next Generation of AI-focused Supercomputing

Blurring the lines between HPC and AI

Today’s high performance computers are helping clients gain insights at an unprecedented pace. The intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and HPC can transform industries while solving some of the world’s toughest challenges. Read more…

Democratization of HPC Part 3: Ninth Graders Tap HPC in the Cloud to Design Flying Boats

October 18, 2018

This is the third in a series of articles demonstrating the growing acceptance of high-performance computing (HPC) in new user communities and application areas. In this article we present UberCloud use case #208 on how Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch and Håkon Bull Hove

Automated Optimization Boosts ResNet50 Performance by 1.77x on Intel CPUs

October 23, 2018

From supercomputers to cell phones, every system and software device in our digital panoply has a growing number of settings that, if not optimized, constrain  Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

South Africa CHPC: Home Grown Dynasty

October 22, 2018

Before the build up to the final event in the 2018 Student Cluster Competition season (the SC18 competition in Dallas), I want to take a moment to write about o Read more…

By Dan Olds

Penguin Computing Launches Consultancy for Piecing AI Strategies Together

October 18, 2018

AI stands before the HPC industry as a beacon of great expectations, yet market research repeatedly shows that AI adoption is commonly stuck in the talking phas Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Water Quality—Not Quantity—Hinders HPC Cooling

October 18, 2018

Attention has been paid to the sheer quantity of water consumed by supercomputers’ cooling towers – and rightly so, as they can require thousands of gallons per minute to cool. But in the background, another factor can emerge, bottlenecking efficiency and raising costs: water quality. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Paper Offers ‘Proof’ of Quantum Advantage on Some Problems

October 18, 2018

Is quantum computing worth all the effort being poured into it or should we just wait for classical computing to catch up? An IBM blog today posed those questio Read more…

By John Russell

Dell EMC to Supply U Michigan’s Great Lakes Cluster

October 16, 2018

The University of Michigan (U-M) today announced Dell EMC is the lead vendor for U-M’s $4.8 million Great Lakes HPC cluster scheduled for deployment in first Read more…

By John Russell

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Platform Pushes GPUs into Machine Learning, High Performance Data Analytics

October 10, 2018

GPU leader Nvidia, generally associated with deep learning, autonomous vehicles and other higher-end enterprise and scientific workloads (and gaming, of course) Read more…

By Doug Black

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

D-Wave Breaks New Ground in Quantum Simulation

July 16, 2018

Last Friday D-Wave scientists and colleagues published work in Science which they say represents the first fulfillment of Richard Feynman’s 1982 notion that Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

HPC on Wall Street 2018 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Arista

Dell EMC

IBM

Intel

RStor

VMWare

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Aerodynamic Simulation Reveals Best Position in a Peloton of Cyclists

July 5, 2018

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and KU Leuven research group conducts the largest numerical simulation ever done in the sport industry and cycling discipline. The goal was to understand the aerodynamic interactions in the peloton, i.e., the main pack of cyclists in a race. Read more…

No Go for GloFo at 7nm; and the Fujitsu A64FX post-K CPU

September 5, 2018

It’s been a news worthy couple of weeks in the semiconductor and HPC industry. There were several HPC relevant disclosures at Hot Chips 2018 to whet appetites Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This