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John Hennessy and David Patterson – 2018 Winners of the ACM A.M. Turing Award

By: , Posted on: April 12, 2018

John Hennessy and David Patterson, authors of the seminal Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann textbook

Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, now in its 6th edition, and Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware-Software Interface, have been named this year’s winners of the 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.” The Turing Award, presented by the Association for Computing Machinery, the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, is named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician and computer scientist, and is considered computing’s equivalent to a Nobel Prize. The authors will share a $1 million prize.

John Hennessy retired as President of Stanford University in 2016 after serving in that role for 16 years, and currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, and Director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program at Stanford University.  Dave Patterson is Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at UC, Berkeley, and is currently a Distinguished Engineer at Google as well as Vice Chair of the Board of the RISC-V Foundation.

Hennessy and Patterson, while working as computer science professors at Stanford and UC Berkeley respectively in the early 1980s, devised the idea of reduced instruction set computing (RISC), and together developed a systematic and quantitative approach to designing these microprocessors, which were faster and used less power than the traditional CISC (complex instruction set computer) processors that were then in use.  Their theories and methods were then presented in their groundbreaking textbook Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach which has been the leading senior/grad level computer architecture textbook for more than thirty years.  Today, 99% of the more than 16 billion microprocessors produced annually are RISC processors, and are found in nearly all smart phones, tablets and other embedded devices.

The newest RISC microprocessor comes from the RISC-V Foundation, founded by Dave Patterson and others from Berkeley, and is a RISC-V open source instruction set architecture, the first open source architecture designed to be used in modern computing environments such as cloud computing, mobile devices, and other embedded systems.  It is essentially a chip architecture that anyone can use for free, and is featured in Hennessy and Patterson’s latest version of their best-selling undergraduate textbook Computer Organization and Design RISC-V Edition.


Click here for more details from the Association for Computing Machinery.

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Computer Science

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