CSE alum earns IEEE award for pioneering work in CPU design

Olukotun is often called “the father of multi-core processors” for his early contributions to this now commonplace technology.

Kunle Olukotun Enlarge
Kunle Olukotun

Alumnus Kunle Olukotun (PhD CSE ’91) received the IEEE Computer Society’s 2018 Harry H. Goode Memorial Award for his innovative work in multi-core processor design. The award honors outstanding achievements in the information processing field and recognizes singular and accumulated contributions to the theory, design and practice of computer and information processing.

Olukotun is the Cadence Design Systems Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University. In the ’90s, he and his students designed the first general-purpose multi-core CPU, called Hydra. This early multi-core technology, now used in practically all personal and high-level computing applications, led Olukotun to found Afara Websystems, a company that designed and manufactured low power server systems with chip multiprocessor technology. With Afara he developed the multi-core processor Niagara, later acquired by Sun Microsystems. Niagara-derived microprocessors currently power all Oracle SPARC-based servers.

In other research, Olukotun made significant advances in the development of transactional memory technology to simplify multicore programming, and he also pioneered the use of domain-specific languages for programming heterogeneous computer systems. While at Michigan, he was advised by Bredt Family Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Trevor Mudge.

Olukotun now leads the Stanford Pervasive Parallelism Lab, which focuses on making heterogeneous parallel computing easy to use, and he is a member of the Data Analytics for What’s Next (DAWN) Lab, which is developing infrastructure for usable machine learning.

Harry H. Goode Memorial awardees receive a bronze medal and $2,000 for their achievements. Olukotun will be honored at the IEEE Computer Society annual awards ceremony on June 6 in Phoenix.