John Hennessy receives the Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering
John L. Hennessy, president emeritus at Stanford University and the James F. and Mary Lynn Gibbons Professor in the School of Engineering, has received the 2022 Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering for his contributions to the invention, development and implementation of reduced instruction set computer (RISC) chips.
This year’s fellow recipients include Hennessy’s collaborators, David A. Patterson, Stephen B. Furber and Sophie M. Wilson.
RISC chips simplify the individual instructions computers use to perform tasks. The low-power feature of RISC chips makes them especially useful for mobile devices such as cell phones and laptops. Today, about 99 percent of all new computer chips use the RISC architecture.
Presented by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the $500,000 biennial award is given to engineers whose accomplishments have significantly benefited society.
“I am honored to present this year’s Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering to Hennessy, Patterson, Furber and Wilson,” said NAE President John L. Anderson in an announcement earlier this month. “The benefits of their work have been enormous in today’s digital world. This innovation has stimulated the creation of numerous and various low-power portable devices, thus becoming a major driver of economic growth.”
Hennessy, a professor of electrical engineering and of computer science, is also the Shriram Family Director of Stanford’s Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, the largest fully endowed graduate-level scholarship program in the world. He is the chair of Alphabet and a trustee of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. He was the 10th president of Stanford (2000–2016), co-founded MIPS Computer Systems (1984) and Atheros Communications (1998), and co-authored with Patterson two internationally used textbooks in computer architecture. Hennessy’s honors include the 2012 Medal of Honor of the IEEE and, jointly with Patterson, both the 2017 ACM A.M. Turing Award and the 2020 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award.
The Draper Prize was established and endowed in 1988 at the request of the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, to honor the memory of “Doc” Draper, the “father of inertial navigation,” and to increase public understanding of the contributions of engineering and technology.