• 1953 November 10
    (b.) - ?


A computer scientist, specializing in the theory of parallel computing and distributed computing, and particularly practical applications thereof; as part of this effort, he developed the Cilk multithreaded language. He invented the fat-tree interconnection network, a hardware-universal interconnection network used in many supercomputers, including the Connection Machine CM5, for which he was Network Architect. Fat-trees are now the preferred interconnect strategy for Infiniband technology. He helped pioneer the development of VLSI theory, including the retiming method of digital optimization with James B. Saxe and systolic arrays with H. T. Kung. He conceived of the notion of cache-oblivious algorithms, which are algorithms that have no tuning parameters for cache size or cache-line length, but nevertheless use cache near-optimally. He developed the Cilk language for multithreaded programming, which uses a provably good work-stealing algorithm for scheduling. He received a B.S. degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from Yale University in 1975, and his Ph.D. degree in 1981in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, where his advisors were Jon Bentley and H. T. Kung. His dissertation, ?Area-Efficient VLSI Computation?, won the first ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award. He then joined the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is now a Professor. In addition, he is a principal in the Theory of Computation research group in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). While on leave from MIT at Thinking Machines Corporation, he designed and led the implementation of the network architecture for the Connection Machine Model CM-5 Supercomputer, which incorporated the "universal" fat-tree interconnection network which he had developed at MIT. He was for many years the head of the Computer-Science program for the Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA) distance-education collaboration. The lectures for SMA of his undergraduate course on algorithms were videotaped and were one of the first freely available course videos on MIT OpenCourseWare. His annual workshop on ?Leadership Skills for Engineering and Science Faculty?, co-taught with Chuck McVinney, has educated hundreds of faculty at MIT and around the world in the nontechnical issues involved in leading technical teams in academia. He was formerly Director of Research and Director of System Architecture for Akamai Technologies where he led the engineering team that developed a world-wide content-distribution network numbering over 20,000 servers. He was Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Cilk Arts, Inc., a start-up that developed Cilk technology for multicore computing applications. (Cilk Arts, Inc. was acquired by Intel in 2009.) The recipient of numerous awards, in 1985 the National Science Foundation awarded him a Presidential Young Investigator Award. In 2006 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. In 2013 he was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received the 2014 Taylor L. Booth Education Award from the IEEE Computer Society "for worldwide computer science education impact through writing a best-selling algorithms textbook, and developing courses on algorithms and parallel programming." In addition, he was awarded the 2014 Ken Kennedy Award Recipient, "For enduring influence on parallel computing systems and their adoption into mainstream use through scholarly research and development and for distinguished mentoring of computer science leaders and students." He is a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow at MIT, the highest recognition at MIT for undergraduate teaching. He is an ACM Fellow and a senior member of IEEE and SIAM. He co-authored the standard algorithms textbook, ?Introduction to Algorithms?, with Ronald L. Rivest and Thomas H. Cormen which was named "Best 1990 Professional and Scholarly Book in Computer Science and Data Processing" by the Association of American Publishers. Currently in its third edition with an additional co-author Clifford Stein, it is the leading textbook on computer algorithms, having sold over 650,000 copies, and according to Citeseerx , the most cited reference in computer science. He is also the co-author of: with Matteo Frigo, and Keith Randall, "The implementation of the Cilk-5 multithreaded language," 1998 ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI), Montreal, Canada, June 1998, pp. 212-223; and with C. Scott Ananian, Krste Asanovic, Bradley C. Kuszmaul and Sean Lie, "Unbounded transactional memory," IEEE Micro, 2006, to appear. An early version appeared in the 11th International Symposium on High-Performance Computer Architecture, San Francisco, CA, February 2005, pp. 316-327.
  • Date of Birth:

    1953 November 10
  • Noted For:

    Inventor of the fat-tree interconnection network, a hardware-universal interconnection network used in many supercomputers and pioneer developer of VLSI theory
  • Category of Achievement:

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