John Hennessy
  • 2017 Turing Award


American computer scientist, Chair of Alphabet Inc., and served as the tenth President of Stanford University. Along with David Patterson, Hennessy won the 2017 Turing Award for “pioneering a systematic, quantitative approach to the design and evaluation of computer architectures with enduring impact on the microprocessor industry”.

Education and Work Experience

1984-1992, Cofounder & Chief Scientist, MIPS Computer Systems (now part of Imagination Tech.)
1998-1999, Member, Committee to Study the Investment Strategy for DARPA, Defense Science Board
2000-2016, President, Stanford University
2007-Present, Co-chair, Committee on Scientific Communication and National Security, National Research Council

Honors and Awards

2009, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Spirit of Silicon Valley—Lifetime Achievement Award
2012, IEEE Medal of Honor
2017, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, United Kingdom
2017, Turing Award

Major Academic Achievements

Professor Hennessy initiated the MIPS project at Stanford in 1981 and founded cofounded MIPS Computer Systems later. MIPS is a high- performance Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC), and was one of the first three experimental RISC architectures. In addition to his role in the basic research, Hennessy played a key role in transferring this technology to industry. In the 1990s, he served as the Founding Chairman of the Board of Atheros, an early wireless chipset company, now part of Qualcomm. Hennessy is also the co-author (with David A. Patterson) of two widely used textbooks in computer architecture. Today, Hennessy is Co-Founder and Director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, designed to build a multidisciplinary community of Stanford graduate students dedicated to finding creative solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.It is the largest fully endowed scholars’program in the world.