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Stanford President Hennessy wins IEEE's highest honor

Hennessy was recognized by IEEE for pioneering the RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) processor and for leadership in computer engineering and higher education.

L.A. Cicero John Hennessy

John Hennessy's latest research has focused on the architecture of high-performance computers.

Stanford University President John L. Hennessy will receive the 2012 IEEE Medal of Honor, the technical society's highest award, given to individuals for an exceptional contribution or an extraordinary career in the IEEE fields of interest.

Hennessy was recognized by IEEE for pioneering the RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) processor and for leadership in computer engineering and higher education. RISC processors, which achieved higher speeds because they operated from a set of simpler computer instructions than earlier microprocessors, revolutionized the computer industry by increasing performance while reducing costs.

In addition to his role in the basic research, Hennessy helped transfer RISC technology to industry. In 1984, he cofounded MIPS Computer Systems, now MIPS Technologies, which designs microprocessors. In recent years, his research has focused on the architecture of high-performance computers. He is a professor of electrical engineering and of computer science and a former dean of the School of Engineering. He has served as president of Stanford University since October 2000.

Past winners of the IEEE Medal of Honor include Intel co-founders Gordon Moore, Andrew Grove and Robert Noyce; Ethernet co-creator Robert Metcalfe; and information theory pioneer Claude Shannon. Previous IEEE Medal of Honor recipients from Stanford include former Provost Frederick E. Terman; Professor Emeritus Calvin Quate, inventor of the scanning acoustic microscope; and Professor Emeritus Thomas Kailath, for his work in control and signal processing.

Hennessy will receive his award at a ceremony held next year. IEEE is the world's largest technical association with more than 400,000 members.

Media Contact

Lisa Lapin, University Communications: (650) 725-8395, lapin@stanford.edu