CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson has won the 13th BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Information and Communication Technologies. He shares the award with John Hennessy of Stanford University “for taking computer architecture, the discipline behind the central processor or ‘brain’ of every computer system, and launching it as a new scientific area.” The citation says that Patterson and Hennessy “are synonymous with the inception and formalization of this field. Before their work, the design of computers – and in particular the measurement of computer performance – was more of an art than a science, and practitioners lacked a set of repeatable principles to conceptualize and evaluate computer designs. Patterson and Hennessy provided, for the first time, a conceptual framework that gave the field a grounded approach towards measuring a computer’s performance, energy efficiency, and complexity.” They jointly created RISC, an architecture that underpins the design of central processors and is at the heart of virtually every data center server, desktop, laptop, smartphone, and computer embedded in an Internet of Things device. Their landmark textbook, Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, was first published in 1989 and is still considered “the bible” of computer architecture. The pair won the ACM A.M. Turing Award for their achievements in 2017. Patterson participated in a Frontiers of Knowledge Award interview video.
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