Former Stanford University President John Hennessy has been named the 2018 recipient of the Semiconductor Industry Association’s Robert N. Noyce Award. The annual award recognizes a leader who has made outstanding contributions to the semiconductor industry in technology or public policy.
Hennessy co-developed an approach to computer architecture that came to be known as the reduced instruction set computer (RISC) architecture, which involved significantly fewer transistors. The simpler design led to faster speeds, lower costs and shorter design times.
By the 1990s, RISC designs were the foundation of workstations and servers. Today, 99 percent of the more than 16 billion microprocessors produced annually are based on Hennessy’s simplified design, including those found in tablets, cell phones and household smart devices.
Hennessy continues to influence the field of computing through a textbook he co-authored. Now in its fifth edition, the book is credited with significantly increasing the pace of advances in microprocessor design. Hennessy will receive the award at the SIA Annual Award Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 29, in San Jose.