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A computer architect and mathematician, he was awarded the 2002 Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award for "ingenious and sustained contributions to designs and implementations at the frontier of high performance computing leading to widely used industrial products." He studied Philosophy as an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but near the end of earning a graduate degree in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, computers turned his head. He also took a few computer courses, including a design course that included a contest to see which student could build the best circuit, which he won, and with that an early microprocessor chip. He eventually designed and built his first working computer. In 1978, he joined the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in New York and has been involved in the architecture, design, construction, and programming of parallel computers ever since. He would go on to design a series of successful machines for IBM, including the GF-11 (PDF,518KB) (Gigaflop-11). It was manufactured in 1985 on 576 of what were then the world’s largest multiwire circuit boards to compute the mass of a proton using a theory called quantum chromodynamics. At the time no machine was fast enough to do this. Working with an IBM physicist, he came up with a new kind of machine. Instead of using conventional processors that decided what calculations to do as they went along, he designed a special processor for which all steps of the calculation were determined ahead of time. He is quoted as saying, “It was like choreographing all of the traffic in New York City for a week, so that no car ever had to stop at a red light.” He is currently the Chief System Architect for the Cyclops64 family of supercomputers (formerly known as Blue Gene/C). The Blue Gene project is a cellular architecture in development and aims to create the first "supercomputer on a chip". In 2013, he was named an IBM Fellow, the company's highest technical honor; and he has received many other IBM awards for high performance machines designed to target science, mathematics, logic simulation, and general purpose parallel computation.
Noted For:Pioneer in high-performance computer design resulting in new approaches to managing big data, with advances in machine architecture, processors, networks, chips and system design
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